Skip to content
Industrial workers of the future not in danger of extinction—but models are

Press release -

Industrial workers of the future not in danger of extinction—but models are

“Operators in the future will be a partly new and much more multifaceted profession. With the help of technology, operators will be active in a completely different way,” says Niclas Björsell, reader of electronics and researcher at University of Gävle

Using a method developed at Oxford University, the Swedish Reform Institute has calculated how different occupational groups risk being replaced by digital technology. The startling forecast is that every second job will be automated within 20 years. In Sweden, there are currently 4,700,000 employees, which means that 2,490,000 thousand jobs may be replaced by computers and robots.

Occupations with the highest probability of being taken over by computers are models (98 percent) followed by accounting and bookkeeping assistants (97 percent). At the top of the list of occupations of jobs that may be taken over by computers are: "retail salespersons, demonstrators, etc." (196753) and “healthcare and nursing staff” (173019), according to a study from 2014.

The industrial worker will not disappear

Right now, the industry is at a point where technology no longer constitutes a barrier, and the digitization process is going fast in areas ranging from connected machines to a complete digitization of entire production lines.

Against this background, the EU has adopted a human-centric approach in one of its three goals for the future to ensure that digital technologies will support the workers.


Niclas Björsell

“The industrial worker will not disappear but will have a completely different, much more advanced role. The greatest challenge is the up-skilling and re-skilling needed for workers to be able to use this technology,” says Niclas Björsell.

Re-skillling workers

Digitization is key in the process to achieve the sustainability goals. Measurement and control can reduce the environmental impact, and here human resources will be crucial.

“Replacing existing workers with, say, young computer engineers would not work at all. As process knowledge is necessary, you have to re-skill your workers, and professional development is the solution to this dilemma.”

Built into the new technology, there are various aids that will reduce the thresholds. AR glasses, for example, can provide extra information. Exoskeletons, in turn, can add strength when needed, while computers can be used to run new equipment in a simulated environment. We can also work with robots.

“Previously, technology was at the center. Now, technology will instead support people and such aids will facilitate the necessary knowledge transformation.”

“At University of Gävle, we are already there”

The EU has listed emerging technologies that pave the way for Industry 5.0 and University of Gävle currently conducts both teaching and research in most of these technologies.

“In addition, we have begun focusing on lifelong learning and course development in a number of relevant subjects. At University of Gävle, we are already there.”

Professional development within automation

“In many industries, there are skill shortages, and young people want their jobs to be meaningful, they want to contribute to the world. This development is beneficial for sustainability, and we should not be so terribly worried about the jobs, they will still be there,” Niclas Björsell says.

----------------------------
A study from Uppsala University and the London School of Economics, published in the Harvard Business review, examined 14 different industries with a high degree of automation in 17 countries in the USA, Europe, Australia, and South Korea. It shows that digitalisation has generated a certain wage increase, a certain production increase and no job losses.
----------------------------

Contact:
Niclas Björsell, reader of electronics and researcher at University of Gävle.
Phone: 026-64 87 95, 076-855 57 88
E-mail: niclas.bjorsell@hig.se


Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Photo Niclas Björsell: Ove Wall

Subjects

Tags


Education and Research at a Scenic Campus.
The University of Gävle has approximately 17 000 students, more than 50 study programmes and second-cycle programmes, about 1 000 courses in humanities, social and natural sciences and technology.

Research Profiles
Built Environment and Health-promoting Working Life are the general research profiles of the higher education institution. Important parts included are Spatial Planning with a specialisation in Sustainable Built Environment and Musculoskeletal Disorders with the purpose to prevent work-related injuries. In 2010, the higher education institution received permission to carry out third-cycle programmes in the profile area of Built Environment.
The higher education institution has applied for permission to carry out third-cycle programmes in technology, humanities and social sciences.

University of Gävle

Education and Research at a Scenic Campus.
The University of Gävle has approximately 17 000 students, more than 50 study programmes and second-cycle programmes, about 1 000 courses in humanities, social and natural sciences and technology.

Research Profiles
Built Environment and Health-promoting Working Life are the general research profiles of the higher education institution. Important parts included are Spatial Planning with a specialisation in Sustainable Built Environment and Musculoskeletal Disorders with the purpose to prevent work-related injuries. In 2010, the higher education institution received permission to carry out third-cycle programmes in the profile area of Built Environment.
The higher education institution has applied for permission to carry out third-cycle programmes in technology, humanities and social sciences.


Distance Education
Earlier than the more traditional universities and higher education institutions, we have adapted the programmes to the demands of the market and dared to try new types of teaching e g different forms of distance education. Today, Högskolan i Gävle is one of Sweden's leading higher education institutions when it comes to distance education. Certain distance educations have meetings on one of the campus sites, others are based on modern IT support only and are therefore independent on which city you are in. The wide range of distance courses enables students to live in the home town and still carry out academic studies.


Campus
Our campuses at Kungsbäck in Gävle offer a lovely study environment with all programmes gathered in one place. A place of knowledge only a few minutes from the centre.


The higher education institution is located in a scenic area with Gävle River and the Boulogner Forest as the closest neighbours. The carefully re-built regiment barracks have created a gathered campus where the distance between students, teachers and researchers is close.


A higher education institution with regional connections and a contact network reaching all over the world.

University of Gävle
Visit our other newsrooms