Blue-collar manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Income inequality is increasing and the once-steadfast middle class is being hollowed out.
The Dignity of Work
Many are in part-time jobs or are underemployed for their experience and skillset. A growing number of people in their prime working years have given up on trying to find a job.
People may have jobs, but they’re not the jobs they want. They lack the purpose, stability, and opportunity for advancement that give their work meaning and dignity.
Any approach to this issue should focus on two key issues. The first is to create new jobs that are accessible to broader geographies and demographics. The second is to provide these workers with the retraining in the skills they need for those jobs.
Redistributing skilled labour
As an example, many medical clinics struggle to hire the qualified mid-level staff – medical assistants, nurses, back office administrators – to support the growing piles of documentation and paperwork necessary to operate in the healthcare system.
Because of the real-time and context-dependent nature of this work, health systems have struggled to centralize and standardize these administrative services, and have placed the majority of the documentation burden upon the most expensive and highly trained resources in healthcare: the doctors.
By enabling the doctor to operate at the top of their licence, a computer program reduces the cost of care, improves the patient experience, reduces medical errors, and reduces physician burnout.
In addition, the location-agnostic nature of these augmented reality jobs helps to redistribute skilled labour from highly concentrated and affluent urban areas to lower cost areas more in need of job creation.
Faster retraining in a fast-moving world
In addition to unlocking new opportunities for underserved areas of the labour market, augmented reality technologies are playing an increasingly pivotal role in retraining employees to handle these rapid shifts in the labour markets.
According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs report, more employers are focused on retraining employees – 65% – than any other strategy.
Upskill, an augmented reality company in the manufacturing and field services sectors, uses wearable technologies to provide step-by-step instructions to industrial workers.
With the pace of technological progress only accelerating, and with increasing specialization becoming the norm in every industry, reducing the time necessary to retrain workers is pivotal to maintaining the competitiveness of industrialized economies.
What the future holds for augmented reality and jobs
Meaningful employment remains the cornerstone of economic and political stability, and focus must be allocated to ensuring not just that there is employment, but that it is meaningful.
This means that businesses and governments should focus on not just employment rates, but on the metrics that measure the quality of the jobs being created – part-time workers, rapid job turnover, contract labour, and wage growth stagnation, to name a few.
Most importantly, businesses and governments should recognize that, when it comes to the future of work, technology is a double-edged sword.
Technology is a force that has the potential to eliminate entire industries through robotics and automation, and for that, we should be concerned.
But it also continues to be a catalyst for the creation of entirely new industries and opportunities, as well as a way for the economy to unlock inefficiencies in the market and create win-win opportunities for employers and employees alike.
The picture on top: mentatdgt
The article is a part of an article from the World Economic Forum 2017 by Pelu Tran: “How new technologies can create huge numbers of meaningful jobs”.
Categories: Enterpreneurship, Future Work, World