Workforce remains crucial in the context of automation

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 02/02/2023 | 13:32

Although the transition to automation of an organisation’s production processes may be perceived negatively by employees, who predict that more and more jobs will be lost, one in two manufacturing managers (51.3%) are convinced that the workforce will remain crucial in the future. While about a quarter (23.3%) expect automation to create new jobs and career opportunities, 20.3% believe workers will be transferred to new positions.


According to the report “Manufacturing – Global HR Trends 2023” by Istituto Piepoli and published by Gi Group Holding, one of the world’s largest HR companies, automation and sustainability are the main trends driving the manufacturing sector and contributing to its growth. The study was conducted on a sample of 240 decision makers (HR managers, plant managers, production managers) of manufacturing companies in six countries (Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK).

As a result, 84% of companies have already introduced Digital Transformation tools, including supply chain and manufacturing. Currently, the most adopted tools are cloud computing (27%) and digital integration (22%), closely followed by big data-analytics (20%), cybersecurity (19%), robotics and artificial intelligence (16%).

Both from the perspective of companies who want to increase production and from the perspective of employees who want to stay competitive, improve their skills and grow professionally, automation is seen as an opportunity. However, it can pose a risk for workers who do not have the technological skills for today, which underlines the critical role that training will play in the coming years.

“Far from being just a physically demanding sector, Manufacturing offers a wide range of career opportunities for both low and medium-skilled and highly-skilled workers. We are moving towards a future in which training and lifelong learning will be more important than ever in helping people achieve their life and career goals and in enabling companies to overcome workforce shortages while taking advantage of the opportunities offered by technological advances. Moreover, in line with research findings, the need for a new attitude and the growth of STEM skills – such as critical thinking, initiative-taking, communication skills – among women could help open up the industry to diversity, which has historically been dominated by men. In this direction, 83% of respondents believe that the number of women will increase in their companies in the next five years”, says Andrei Luca, Business Manager Gi Group Temps & Perm

Labour shortages are a continuing challenge for the fast-moving manufacturing industry. This is why the labour shortage has several causes, including a misperception of manufacturing (still seen as a physically demanding industry where manual or low-skilled labour predominates) and a lack of skills appropriate to the new times.

“Manufacturing plays an important role in the economy and development of countries, worth $16.4 trillion worldwide. To cope with labour shortages, many companies have accelerated digitisation in the hope that these changes will increase efficiency and productivity. Unfortunately, augmented reality and the IoT are still very little used in the manufacturing industry, where only 15% of companies have implemented them. However, the global industrial automation market has been growing steadily in recent years and is expected to reach at least $265 billion by 2025,” points out Andrei Luca, Business Manager Gi Group Temps & Perm

Experts expect technical skills to increase, especially from low-skilled workers, who will be required to have experience of specialized machinery (68%) as well as specialized training (65%), while digital and project management skills (71%) and public speaking skills (71%) will be essential for skilled employees. In terms of soft skills, workers with a minimum or medium level of qualification will need to focus on developing their ability to adapt and be flexible (84%) and to work autonomously (79%). For specialised positions, learning to work according to priorities (87%) and developing their ability to make decisions (87%) and solve problems (81%) will be particularly important.

At the same time, the report reveals that 85% of respondents believe that the demand for job profiles will change in the coming years as manufacturing evolves. When it comes to workers with average or below average skills, companies will be looking for production and machine operators or device operators and controllers in the near future. As for specialist roles, the most in demand will be production planners, quality assurance managers or maintenance managers.

More information can be found in the report published by Gi Group –

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Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 28/06/2024 | 12:25
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