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Will Automation and Technology Adoption in Manufacturing Hurt Jobs?

As a job seeker looking for a new career, (possibly because your last career was disrupted by changes in technology) you’re looking for stability for the long term. You know it’s a big change to commit to an entirely new career path. No one wants to make that commitment only to find out in a few years’ time that all the jobs are gone.

Automation and technology adoption in manufacturing will cause changes. But many of those changes in manufacturing, will be in incremental, non-disruptive changes. However, there are some changes that will have strong repercussions when it comes to the manufacture of goods. Technologies like 3D printing and rapid prototyping will affect jobs because these technologies radically alter the way goods are produced.

There will also be technological changes that are not specifically manufacturing technologies, but will still affect the industry and its jobs becauses these changes affect the way business is conducted in general. New payment methods, logistics, and organizational structures change the way we interact and do business, and this will affect jobs. Though these changes will not be unique to manufacturing, they still need to be considered when judging the effect of automation on manufacturing jobs.

This can be concerning, but hiring trends are not always so black and white. For example, the cost of using robots to sweep a factory floor may fluctuate depending on the costs of hydro used to power those robots. Companies may actually prefer human labour in cases like these because the cost of that labour will be more constant and, therefore, predictable. Something that removes jobs from one place usually replaces them in another. For 3D printers that replace jobs making goods, they may create jobs for sales and retail employees who will be needed to sell this higher amount of goods. Plus, 3D printers may replace machine operators, but they will now need technicians to keep them in good working order.

Some changes, like electric cars and 3D printing, will make large changes in the manufacturing industry, but some, like quantum computing, will be less so.


How to Prepare for Automation and Technology Adoption in Manufacturing

To prepare for the many job opportunities in the Ontario manufacturing sector, all one has to do is make sure one has the right skills for the job.

The most disruptive part of automation is perhaps not the way it changes work, but the way it changes the skills that are most valued.

To make sure you maintain your employability, try focusing on these skills.

  • Developing an adaptability to change

  • Keeping current with new technologies

  • Utilizing creativity and problem solving (not just relying on the way a process used to be done)

  • Maximizing efficiency in new ways.

If you work on developing or maintaining these skills, you’ll undoubtedly remain employable in the years ahead.

Interested in working for a manufacturing company based in Ontario?

This free infographic explains the perks.

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