The knock against robots has always been that they “take away jobs.” The counter argument that’s offered is that robots create new jobs, and those are generally better jobs than the ones that vanish. Interviewing the great Dean Kamen a handful of years ago, I thought he put it better than anyone. He said:
“There’s no job shortage, there are skill shortages — and kids that don’t have the skills to do tech are going to see less and less and less exciting career options available to them. The boring careers, the physical labor careers, the dangerous careers are going away.”
And in the post-Covid world (which I hope we’ll be in sooner than later!), realize that robots will be even more of a reality than ever, their use being fast-tracked in many industries where social distancing would be difficult. Fluid power has a definite role to play here, with pneumatic grippers and soft robotics getting a lot of attention the last few years.
The International Federation of Robotics has estimated that by 2022, almost 4 million industrial robots are expected to be operating in factories worldwide. These robots will play a vital role in automating production to speed up the post-Covid economy. At the same time, robots are driving demand for skilled workers. Educational systems must effectively adjust to this demand, the group said.
“Governments and companies around the globe now need to focus on providing the right skills necessary to work with robots and intelligent automation systems,” said Milton Guerry, IFR President. “This is important to take maximum advantage of the opportunities that these technologies offer. The post-Corona recovery will further accelerate the deployment of robotics. Policies and strategies are important to help workforces make the transition to a more automated economy.”
What’s clear is that changing hiring strategies may be necessary for a lot of companies.
“If you can’t find the experienced people, you have to break down your hiring practices to skill sets and not titles,” said Dr. Byron Clayton, CEO of Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing. “You have to hire more for potential. If you can’t find the person who is experienced, then you have to find a person that has potential to learn that job.”