Roughly 700,000 to 1 million new jobs will be created worldwide in the next five
years, according to a report on the link between job creation and automation from the International Federation of Robotics. It was published in PACE (Process and Control Engineering), the journal of the Australia-based Institute of Instrumentation Control and Automation (IICA). The analysis by Metra Martech, a London-based market research firm, estimated direct employment at 2 million to 3 million jobs, which equates to 2 or 3 jobs per robot with roughly 1 million industrial robots in operation worldwide. It estimated indirect employment at twice that number.
“The model company is no longer a large entity such as GM, Chrysler, or Ford but small and medium sized enterprises . The need in such an economy is far more dependent on higher degrees of adaptation, ease of use, and other factors that enable small runs of made-to-order products,” the report said. “Robotics technology has historically been defined by the automotive sector and driven by price and the need to automate specific tasks particular to large volume manufacturing. The new economy is much less focused on mass manufacturing, however, and more concentrated on producing customized products.”
The PACE article, which described the findings to an international audience, mentioned the successes at Marlin Steel, which has invested more than $3 million in automation in recent years at the same time it has added employees and set revenue records. This was Marlin Steel President Drew Greenblatt in the article describing the company’s trajectory from the late 1990s when its workers earned $6 an hour and shaped steel wire by hand at the rate of 300 bends an hour.