Will jobs become automated?

Following the news in Facilities Management Journal this week that revealed 32% of 1,300 UK working adults feel their jobs will be automated within the next decade, the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF) released a reactive comment.

CIEHF conducts a great deal of work into the impact of robots in the workplace and has carried out its own extensive research in this area, finding that robotics and automation have a positive impact on the industry and enhance skill as well as creating new jobs. This was also recognised in the Financial Times yesterday.

The key element that’s missing in most reports is the importance of human factors – it is believed that we will only reap the full benefits of robotics when designers, businesses and manufacturers ensure human factors are embraced early.

Commenting on robotics and automation, Steve Barraclough, CEO of CIEHF, said: “It is inevitable that our environments and workplaces will involve increasing levels of automation, informatics, robotics, sensors and mobile devices. However, this does not mean jobs will be replaced wholesale as human skills will remain central to many tasks.

It is imperative that we make the marriage between humans and machines as seamless as possible, and human factors are critical to that success. Our own research revealed that 68.5% of industry professionals do not recognise human factors – this has to change. To ensure automation and robotics have the best possible impact, the contribution of human factors must be considered at a very early stage.”