Automation can create opportunities if the right support mechanisms are accessible, and the focus is on helping workers to succeed: study

In a recent study of 12 countries in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, the impact of digitalization was examined to pinpoint vulnerabilities endemic to each region, in order understand how solutions can be found to smooth the path ahead.

Commissioned by Autodesk Foundation, the study explored the state of automation and the future of work across Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

APAC is a diverse region and the challenges facing individual countries when it comes to automation are vastly different. However, the report has pointed to one common conclusion, regardless of geography: that automation will create opportunity, if the right support mechanisms are put in place, and the focus is put squarely on helping workers to succeed.

Summary of findings

The three countries in the study deemed most at risk and least prepared for automation were India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. At the other end of the spectrum, Australia, Singapore and Japan ranked top three. The report has made the following observations and recommendations:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, and automation is a chance for workers upskilling to tap the benefits of automation and to take on high-value-adding tasks. For this, Singapore performed well in terms of resilience against the impact of automation in construction, logistics and manufacturing.
  • Countries need to increase awareness of the need to adapt, positioning the narrative to focus on the opportunities created in terms of higher, value-add activities and not the risk of job losses created by automation.
  • Helping smaller businesses through industry-specific programsto access new digital technologies can help accelerate automation usage and adoption.
  • Helpingdisadvantaged (e.g., lower-skilled workers) workers through promoting the uptake of reskilling or upskilling courses can help them build resilience and the will to continually reinvent themselves in an ever-evolving environment of disruption.
Preparedness, automation and social inclusion scores

According to the firm’s Vice President of Asia Pacific, Haresh Khoobchandani: “Automation creates opportunities for a better future of work, particularly in APAC where 60% of the global workforce resides. With automation, humans can offload jobs that are dangerous, dull or dirty, and focus on more productive and higher-value work. For example, the use of robots can reduce common manufacturing injuries by up to 72%. By leveraging automation intelligently across major industries, such as construction, logistics and transport, we can generate significant economic benefits and boost productivity.”

In addressing the risks of automation, taking proactive measures are key: “Autodesk is committed to helping the workforce thrive in this new era of automation. That means new credentialling and certification programs to give employees the skills they need to succeed as well as partnerships across the public and private sector to make workforce development a priority.”