Many people are aware of how technology affects the future of work. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and more efficient, and in many cases, it does. However, there are numerous was in which technology has, and will continue to affect, developing countries.
The West isn’t the only one affected:
Low-skilled jobs in industries such as transportation, logistics, manufacturing as well as office and administrative support positions are among the most vulnerable jobs due to the ability to automate them more easily. The nature of work in developing countries means a higher percentage of jobs fall under the low-skilled category, making them more vulnerable to the effects of emerging technology such as AI and automation. For example, 85 percent of jobs in Ethiopia are at risk of automation, while 56 percent of the total workforce in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia is at risk by being replaced by robots.
New ways to economic prosperity:
The declining cost of robots means countries with low-wage labor will be facing new challenges. Chief among those challenges will be how to replace the competitive advantage that helped create business opportunities in the past. With emerging technology such as 3D printing expected to increase manufacturing in domestic markets, developing countries are faced with a ‘premature deindustrialization’ problem. Emerging economies will have to find a way in which they can create a highly skilled workforce in order to keep pace with emerging sectors.
Inequality will be an even bigger problem:
Jobs such as sewing machine operators and shop sales assistants have a high risk of being replaced with automation. These jobs are generally dominated by females and could certainly mean a setback economically for women in the workforce. However, what is more frightening is the fact that women are up to 50 percent less likely than men to have access to the internet. With digital skills becoming more important than ever, women could stand to lose a sizeable number of job opportunities.
Policies will require a rethink:
The ‘gig economy’ is here and the increasing digitization of the world means it is not only here to stay, but it’s likely to grow. Retraining, improving current skills, and learning new skills will be required as the nature of work continues to evolve and change. In order to be ready for said changes with a workforce capable of tackling new challenges that will come about workforce planning will need to become a priority for both governments, as well as businesses and educational institutions. Failure to invest in these areas could mean even more challenges for developing countries with respect to sustainable employment.