Self-service kiosks taking away jobs?
Korea continues to take giant leaps in unmanned industries,… there are growing concerns that soon things will be so developed ... almost any task will be done by machines.
Shin Se-min sheds light on how rapid advancements and technological breakthroughs may pose challenges on the job front, and what approach we should take to embrace the changes. They're at hospitals, banks and now,… at your nearest fast-food chains.
These unmanned self-service systems or kiosks continue to pop up in different industries. "The convenience makes me want to use them over and over. Mostly, they cut back my waiting time. "I enjoy ordering through automated machines, especially when I'm in a hurry or don't want to talk to the cashier myself."
Large companies are convinced that automation helps them save money on labor costs, while catering to the demands of their young customers. In the U.S., Wendy's plans to replace its order-taking employees with digital alternatives by adding kiosks at thousands of locations across the country this year,… this, following suit of other fast-food chains that have either already installed or are planning to expand the number of self-ordering kiosks. So far in Korea, major fast-food chains have not quite inched in this direction, saying no job cuts have been made after setting up the digital machines.
The move toward automation isn't all about cutting back on labor costs,… as it also enhances labor productivity,… but still people are worried. "This speedy and easy-to-use technology may simply look like a step toward greater efficiency, but along with the rapid spread of these automated kiosks, also comes the concern that they're stealing people's jobs."
The World Economic Forum predicts that nearly 5-point-1 million jobs will be lost to automation over the period of 2015-2020.
That would deal a hefty blow to countries like Korea.
Of the total number of workers, over 32-percent are non-regular workers.
And more than 2-point-4 million Koreans work as part-timers,… a figure that has been growing over the past years and is still is climbing. In other words, automated self-service machines could eat away existing jobs, not only in the service sector but also in manufacturing as well... signaling trouble for Korea's already feeble labor market.
"The adaptation Korea's labor market is going through along with the fourth industrial revolution is seemingly hurting many of the country's workers. Unless there are preventative measures that protect workers affected by these new technologies, this will bring about harsher conditions for the labor market."
The expert adds that efforts to reshape the labor market must be made immediately, especially as the country remains sandwiched between a shrinking working population and fast-evolving technologies. The belief is that smart reforms now may help revitalize the labor market and give it more resilience.