The rise of new technologies has become synonymous with job loss which makes the global move towards a technologically-enhanced way of doing things a scary thought for many. The question on everyone’s minds is this: “Is the world moving towards a labourless environment, where jobs will be taken by machinery?”
The base assumption is that human productivity requires a large workforce, which equals extra expenses for businesses, and so businesses choose to replace the workforce with machines. But this is not necessarily true. The rise in new technology has frequently created new opportunities for better jobs and a better society in the past, provided people take advantage of these opportunities.
It is no secret that the invention of technologies in various industries throughout history has taken jobs from a large number of people, either because technology was able to perform the same tasks more accurately, and a lot faster, or because new technologies required new skills which the existing workforce didn’t possess. Agricultural and manufacturing employment together are in constant decline in many countries such as the US, where employment in agriculture once peaked at 53%, but now accounts for less than 3% of the workforce.
As human beings, we cannot simply leave the world as we have found it. Fundamentally, we seek to leave the world better than the way we found it, which gives rise to the invention of technology. The invention of these technologies has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of our society both on a local and global level. These technologies might supplant some jobs, but they create new ones, and provide simpler more effective ways for us to do our jobs. In the case of the IT Industry, and particularly the connectivity that has come from the internet, businesses that once had to communicate via landlines and faxes that took hours to send, if they didn’t have to travel to connect with outlying offices, can now collaborate on a daily basis, from one end of the world to another. People in rural communities can join the online workforce without leaving their homes – provided they have the electricity, internet connection and equipment to do it.
The advance of technology is not the horror story people imagine it to be, nor does it necessarily demand greater skills and learning to do the same job. The first industrial revolution, for example, reduced the cost of textiles so much that it led to a boom in demand, production, and employment. Where most people only had one or two outfits, wearing the same thing every day of the week now seems almost taboo – an attitude that can be directly traced to increased availability of clothing, and so the industrial revolution. So although technology took away jobs in one sector, it gave back more, and in the process assisted in reshaping how we live today.
The rise of the internet, websites and social media has impacted jobs in the print publishing industry, but it has created new jobs for web designers, community managers and bloggers, and has opened new avenues for writers to work for themselves. It is only those who are not prepared to take advantage of new technology who are left behind, which is why Salt is always on the lookout for new developments and new solutions, ensuring that we are poised to help you seize the day.
Technology is changing the world rapidly and that is no reason to be afraid, because with new challenges comes new opportunities. Worry not, work out a new recipe with the necessary skills and just add Salt.