Hate to tell you this, but you could lose your job to a robot. Soon.
New research by the Boston Consulting group concludes that 25% of all factory jobs will be taken over by machines in the next decade. Currently, robots make up about 10% of that workforce. And the study says the elimination of humans will mean a 16% reduction in manufacturing labor costs for companies in the world’s 25 largest goods-exporting nations.
Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Michael Santoli says this is the road we’ve been following for a long time now.
“It’s more a continuation of this productivity obsession that companies have,” he notes. “Big companies are looking to replace labor with technology almost everywhere, it’s not just about robots building stuff.”
Still, Santoli indicates this trend will affect the workforce.
“Manufacturing jobs even more so are not going to be the places to look for a huge number of new positions,” he adds. “It means they have to find something else to do instead of put together pieces of a heavy object or even a small object, like a phone.”
But Santoli notes the affect of robot workers will have less of an impact here than in other places.
“This is probably something more important to the South Korean or Chinese worker than it might be for the U.S. worker because the U.S. economy has been shedding manufacturing jobs for 30 years,” he points out. “And we’re no longer as dependent on them and the ones we have here are a little bit more specialized. They are not plain vanilla assembly line.”
Santoli adds we’ve seen this sort of thing in the U.S. before…and we seem to be OK with it.
“We lamented when the textile factories left North Carolina and they’re in China now,” he notes. “And nobody seems to think they’d rather be working at a loom making cotton garments anymore in North Carolina.”
The report says “the coming robotics revolution could significantly reshape the global manufacturing landscape.” But Santoli is optimistic humans here in America will still have a place in the workforce of the future.
“Right now you’re seeing wages grow because there are shortages of actual people," he argues. "And we are really a service economy and it’s very, very hard to replace people in a service economy.”