Automation brings a Real Threat of Mass Unemployment in Southeast Asia



Nov 16, 2018


Automation is part of advanced technology. Automation is no longer a wishful dream, it is already happening right now and it brings a wave of change in the way we live our lives.

Automation and technology will disrupt the way we work and the scale of what is happening should not be underestimated. Statistically, there are less than 5% of all occupations that can run entirely automatic. It may not seem much but look at another number. Around 60% of all occupation involve 30% tasks that could run automatically either by a robot, artificial intelligence, or another type of automation system.

Those numbers will turn into full reality in the next decades. Imagine how many people will lose their job if everything runs automatically.

Many experts have given a similar warning at the World Economic Forum (WEF), in Hanoi, Vietnam. The warning was given particularly for Southeast Asia, where it will face mass unemployment if they don’t do something about it; in this case, improve their skill fast.

Automation brings a real threat of losing a job especially for the low-skilled worker. The Southeast Asian countries that depend heavily on manufacturing for their income will be affected greatly. Why is that? Because automation will take over routine task such as clerk, waiter, cashier, and machine operators, where those routine tasks usually found in manufacturing companies.

The thing is, manufacturing company usually hire hundreds and thousands of worker. If the routine task was taken over by robot and automation, it means hundreds and thousands of those workers will lose their job.

More to Read : Should People Scare over Robots taking their Jobs?

Most of those routine tasks were performed by women and other people with little or less skill. It was estimated that there are about 6.6 million jobs in Southeast Asia that will be lost to automation over the next 10 years.

Southeast Asian countries need to take an immediate action to stop that threat to turn into something real. Those countries need to add real and high value to its human resource. It could be in any form and the right kind of education is a very effective means to achieve that purpose.

What does it mean with the right kind of education? It refers to the kind of education that will be able to prepare people for employment. This is the kind of thing that was being urged by Thailand’s Education Minister. The minister is urging the universities in Thailand to adapt to the global and digital transformation and work together with industries to make sure the graduates have the employable skill that was needed in the real world.

A job that requires basic skill such as administrative and office skill most likely will disappear in the future and replaced by the automation system. In this case, universities need to prepare their student with the employable skill that can and will survive in the era of automation such as cognitive skill, technology and digital skill, and other skill that will be needed in the foreseeable future.

More to Read : Algorithm-Based Sorting is the New Tool on Initial Hiring Process

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