Change brings uncertainty, and there has been much speculation over the impact of technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) on people’s jobs.
In fact, most research suggests that more jobs will be created than lost in this technological shift.
And a new study offers a positive outlook in the engineering construction industry, with fewer than one in ten employers expecting new technologies to lead to job losses.
Industry skills body the ECITB surveyed more than 800 UK employers in this sector and found that twice as many believe new and emerging technologies will see their workforce grow (20%) over the next three years compared to those who think it will shrink (9%). The majority cited improved efficiency (81%) and precision (65%) and new business opportunities (55%) as likely benefits.
More than four in ten (42%) of the employers surveyed already use digital technologies, such as big data, augmented reality or virtual reality.
Among the challenges to harnessing new technologies and processes, employers mentioned time (34%) and resource (30%) constraints and a lack of required skills among the existing workforce (19%). Thinking about the availability of suitable training, 16% believe training courses are not at the cutting edge of industry needs and 14% feel there is a lack of readily available training courses.
“Technology is a major driver of change across the engineering construction industry and will impact on all sectors – from oil and gas, to renewables to pharmaceuticals,” commented Chris Claydon, chief executive of the ECITB.
“With the industry set to grow by 33,000 jobs in the next decade, we must ensure the workforce is future proofed. This means making sure companies can recruit new talent with advanced digital skills and upskilling the current workforce in the use of new technologies, so that employers can maximise the opportunities Industry 4.0 presents.”
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