It doesn’t take very keen analytic abilities to foretell the most likely future of jobs in industry. Common sense of the man on the street is enough.
Industry in US and Western Europe has paid a high price to the appealing cheaper manufacturing in low-cost countries. The customers were delighted with cheaper prices, even at the expense of product quality and of the homeland jobs.
Now that these low-cost products don’t come so cheap anymore and the unemployment rate of youngest and eldest population is a real burden as well as a societal problem (case of France), the promises of a new industrial era favored by smart automation and IT are welcome.
Politicians promote the factories of the future and the industrial jobs, smartly avoiding being specific about their number and the required qualifications.
The man on the street is clever enough to grasp unspoken reality: highly automated factories won’t require much manpower. Automation always replaced human labor.
The remaining required workforce will have to interact with technology, made as easy as managing one’s favorite social media, which favors the digital natives. At least good news for the youngest generations.
For outcast elder manpower perspectives don’t look bright. They won’t sell their experience, most of which is no longer required in the highly automated future. Radical change is tougher for those past 45 or 50. It’s not easy to start learning a new job, compete with younger folks and voluntarily reduce living standard.
I witnessed the failure of trying to convert a handful of 50-year-old print shop workers into telemarketers. I am pessimistic about converting millions of outdated senior professionals in anything new. And so does my fellow-man on the street.