Re-industrialization at risk from automation education gap
A survey by ABB finds there is a growing desire to reshore or nearshore manufacturing, but there's a major automation education gap, which could hamper efforts.
A global ABB survey has revealed a growing trend in US and European businesses towards re-shoring or nearshoring operations to build resilience in the face of global challenges – but at the same time, a significant education gap in the skills necessary for these strategies to succeed.
“The world is constantly evolving – businesses are shifting existing structures and adopting new technologies to future-proof their operations for a variety of challenges and uncertainties, with robotic automation playing a key role,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business. “We need significant investment in continuous education to prepare our existing and future workforce to thrive in an age of robotics and automation, important not only to prepare for the widespread shifts we are seeing, but to create prosperous societies going forward.”
ABB’s 2022 survey of US and European business leaders revealed 74% of European and 70% of U.S. businesses are planning to re- or nearshore operations to build their supply chain resilience in response to labor shortages, the need for a more sustainable global footprint and global uncertainty.
The majority of these businesses view automation as the enabler of these shifts, with 75% of European and 62% of US businesses surveyed planning to invest in robotics and automation in the next three years to facilitate this shift in operations.
Despite the hunger for automation, the survey found a significant gap in the education and training needed to ensure the skills necessary for work in the increasingly connected and automated workplaces of the future. Of the global education professionals surveyed, 80% believe robotics and automation will shape the future of employment in the next ten years, while only one in four education institutions currently use robots as part of their teaching programs.
“Change needs to happen now,” Atiya said. “As companies turn to robotic automation to offset labor shortages, improve efficiency and increase resilience, workers need the skillsets to use automation to perform their jobs and augment their own roles. Businesses need to join forces, cooperating with education institutions and Governments to ensure that society is prepared for jobs of the future. Only through this can we fully utilize flexible automation and unlock value from the ongoing re-industrialization.”
– Edited from an ABB press release by CFE Media and Technology.