We’re now in the middle of a significant transformation in the way we produce things, thanks to Industry 4.0, the digitisation of manufacturing.
Also called “smart manufacturing”, Industry 4.0 refers to the digital transformation of manufacturing practices, leading to real-time decision making, flexibility, enhanced productivity, and agility.
The employment market has been adopting new technologies, including Industry 4.0. With smart technologies becoming more mainstream, it’s worth considering the impact of these technologies on society and the workforce.
What is Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, referred to the adaptation of cyber systems such as the Internet of Systems and the IoT.
From the first industrial revolution to mass production and assembly lines powered by electricity, Industry 4.0 will continue what has been started in the third industrial revolution, which adopted computers and automation.
Industry 4.0 will automate and enhance it through smart and autonomous systems relying on data and machine learning.
Although some would dismiss Industry 4.0 as a mere marketing buzzword, it has caused significant changes in the manufacturing industry that we cannot ignore.
Industry 4.0 has dramatically revolutionised how manufacturing companies operate, from the manufacturing and distribution of products.
Manufacturers have been integrating new technologies into their processes, such as IoT, cloud computing and analytics, machine learning and AI.
Change in the Jobs Market
Although Industry 4.0 has only been around for the past decade, robotics machinery has been used in manufacturing systems since the 1970s.
However, the emergence of AI, smart technologies, and IoT has presented us with the reality that automation could drastically decrease the number of full-time staff that manufacturing companies will hire by 2022.
Recruiters already see the impact of Industry 4.0 on the recruitment and employment landscape. The most significant of these is that many roles in the manufacturing, agriculture, and construction industries will soon see a huge upturn in automation jobs.
These industries are the most vulnerable since most of the roles involve repetitive, easy, and dangerous tasks more suitable to robots.
While Industry 4.0 can provide numerous benefits to manufacturing companies, especially in technological advancements, many people are hesitant or scared of the progress that this new technology brings.
Some experts predict that around one-fifth of the global workforce could be affected by the integration of these technologies in the manufacturing industry.
What Can Businesses Do?
Companies dealing with the changes brought about by the Industry 4.0 should focus more on responsible leadership. Business owners must weigh job losses against progress and profits.
When making decisions, they must consider employee satisfaction while maintaining its positive image. Even with the implementation of robotics, companies should recognise the need to train staff in professional development and new technologies, including standard health and safety.
Upskilling will have a crucial role in adapting to the changes brought about by Industry 4.0, and manufacturing companies must consider investing in health and safety staff training, allowing them to easily integrate the new systems and equipment into the workplace.
This can also help to reduce any anxiety and worries that employees can have about the potential changes brought about by automation.
The 5 Top Industry 4.0 Jobs
Although experts predict that Industry 4.0 will reduce labour, it will open new job opportunities for certain professions, such as robotics engineers, automation engineers, controls engineers, embedded software engineers, and IoT engineers.
Companies will need to hire a robotics engineer who can manage and maintain the robotics system. Others will also need automation engineers to design, program, and test automated machinery.
Meanwhile, controls engineers who can design and implement manufacturing processes will also be in high demand.
The embedded software engineer roles are also needed to develop and implement software that operates the automated machinery. As for the IoT engineers, their primary task is to create and develop devices, sensors, and software to help make these automated systems operate more efficiently.