Welcoming the Automated Economy

More robots means more jobs. Record-setting numbers of industrial robots were purchased in North America during the seven-year period from 2010 to 2016. Manufacturing jobs with companies of all sizes increased during that time and unemployment fell.

Today’s executives, managers, and students should welcome the growing use of automation. The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. Robots, machine vision and related technologies hold new opportunities for the workforce.

Robots Purchased, Jobs Added

A new white paper from A3, Work in the Automation Age: Sustainable Careers Today and into the Future, analyzes trends like how the numbers of robots ordered relates to growth in manufacturing employment.

Technology’s benefits include allowing “companies to become more productive and create higher quality products in a safer environment for their employees.”

Automation helps companies of all sizes and has led to more jobs as U.S. manufacturers have returned from cheap labor markets. Once-shuttered manufacturing plants have opened again thanks to robotics.

The paper touches on Amazon and GE as two global brands that invested in robots and added a large percentage of jobs in the past few years.

Following History into the Future

Where do you want to be in five years? This type of typical question asked at a job interview is something analysts want to apply to the near-future and distant-future labor market. Some only see robots and all forms of automation taking away hourly positions and even white-collar professional occupations.

MIT economist David Autor has said we can’t know what jobs will be created in the future. His comments and a link to his TedTalk on jobs and automation is included in this A3 blog post, Automation’s Historical Trend in Creating More Jobs.

Look back over the past twenty years, even just ten years ago, and see how different the job market looked as cell phone use was emerging and “apps” was still a confusing term.

Look ahead five years and one can see the need for skilled workers who can set-up, supervise and maintain robots. Try to take a longer-term look about ten years or more down the road and we can’t imagine all of the new positions and opportunities created through technology.

The world of work will change in the next twenty to fifty years just like some occupations of the past century faded away and evolved into something different because advances in technology led to change.

Career Preparation is Key

The Automation Age: Sustainable Careers paper addresses the need for skilled workers to fill well-paying jobs at all levels. As an example, “Stable automation-age manufacturing jobs can start at $20 per hour with just a high school diploma, a few months of automation training, and professional certification.”

It’s not the technology alone that gives a competitive edge. But it’s the combination of automation with talented people that will make small and large manufacturers competitive globally. Companies that purchase automated solutions are recognizing the value of trained workers. The white paper notes, “A recent study reveals that 80% of manufacturing executives are willing to pay more than the market rate to all positions impacted by the skills gap.”

Companies themselves need to prepare as technology advances into the future. A3 makes this possible through major events like the biennial Automate Show, on-going trainings and memberships in its partner associations: Robotic Industries Association, AIA-Advancing Vision and Imaging, and the Motion Control and Motor Association.

Learn how companies in all industries are using automation to become profitable with the many free resources offered through