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The global fashion business journal

Jun 23, 202412:02am

The robots, on the hunt for work: 20 million jobs at risk in 2030

The robots will be a key factor in the production and will become 8.5% of the global manufacturing force, according to a study made by Oxford Economics.

Jul 9, 2019 — 9:30am
Arturo Juárez

The robots, on the hunt for work: 20 million jobs at risk in 2030


The robots, hunting for work. In 2030, robotics could replace man in 20 million jobs, which would mean that robots would become 8.5% of the global productive force, according to the study How robots change the world, prepared by Oxford Economics. Much of that impact of robots in the workplace would be focused in China, where it is expected that fourteen million of these robots will develop their work.


Currently, a large part of the available robots is concentrated in China, almost 20% of the total. Specifically, this means that one out of every three of the 2.25 million robots currently in the world is installed in the Chinese country. They are followed, although with a long distance, by other countries such as Japan, Germany, the United States or South Korea.


The impact on the industry has been increasing since 2004. Since that year, each robot installed in a production plant has displaced an average of 1.6 workers. In total, around 1.7 million productive jobs have disappeared due to the implementation of robots in the industry.





China has been the economy in which its workers have been harmed the most by the power of robots. Since 2000, 550,000 jobs have been eliminated due to robotization, which is equivalent to 1% of the current productive force.


In parallel, the United States has removed 260,000 jobs from the labor market due to robotization, 2% of the current productive fabric. The European Union, for its part, has also suffered the impact of robotization in its labor market, because 400,000 jobs have disappeared for this reason, 1.5% of the productive fabric.


The projection to 2030 of the losses of jobs by robotization has a full impact on China, which would eliminate some thirteen million jobs, far above other countries that would also lose jobs for their workers, such as the United States, South Korea or the United States. European Union.





The Oxford Economics study has also focused on the inequality between regions when it comes to eliminating a job because of automation. In particular, the installation of an extra industrial robot in a region with low purchasing power causes the elimination of twice as many jobs as it would cause if the robot were installed in a region with high income and qualification.


In the fashion sector, which requires an intense workforce, robotics has been introduced progressively in the manufacture of T-shirts. Each manufactured piece has a staff cost of 33 cents, while a machine costs five cents. The American Softwear Automation has designed the Sewbot system, which uses cameras and robotic arms that make a piece in just four minutes, from cutting and sewing to the final product.


Garment giants, especially Chinese, such as Tianyuan Garments or Li & Fung have opted to install robotic production lines following the Sewbot model. Tianyuan chose to assemble one in 2017, with the capacity to manufacture a shirt every 22 seconds and producing 800,000 garments a day. Li & Fung, for its part, closed an agreement last year with Softwear Automation to install automated production lines with robots. On the other hand, robots have also helped to open the way to other jobs that have been conceived from the roots of robots.

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