Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Robots to create more than a million jobs by 2016: global report

November 13, 2011
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Robotics will be a major driver for global job creation over the next five years, according to a study conducted by market research firm Metra Martech.

The report, “Positive Impact of Industrial Robots on Employment”, said that one million industrial robots currently in operation have been directly responsible for the creation of close to three million jobs. A growth in robot use over the next five years will result in the creation of one million high quality jobs around the world, it concluded.

In addition to the million jobs expected to be directly created by the increased use of robotics, the report’s authors highlighted that saving manufacturing jobs also results in saving jobs throughout the community. This means that restaurants, shops and the service economy also benefit from this valuable ripple effect.

The report highlights that between 2000-2008, manufacturing employment increased in nearly every major industrialized country, as the use of robotics increased sharply. This same pattern is now being seen in China, Brazil and other emerging countries as they rapidly increase their use of robotics. In Brazil, the number of robots almost quadrupled during the study period, with both production and employment rising by more than 20 percent.


The report found that manufacturing employment is stronger in countries that continue to accelerate their robot investments. In addition, the report’s author, Peter Gorle, highlighted three critical areas of growth in robotic deployment where: robots carry out work in areas that would be unsafe for humans; robots carry out work that would not be economically viable in a high wage economy; and robots carry out work that would be impossible for humans.

The report concluded that the growth of the high tech industries, such as the electronics and semi conductor sectors, and the pharmaceutical sector, was significantly assisted by robots providing the required quality, precision, speed and traceability that cannot be achieved manually. Therefore, robots have contributed significantly to the fast paced growth and employment within these sectors.

The authors had this to say about where robots will make the most impact beyond 2016: “The future of robotics will be one of much greater ubiquity. Miniaturization and new sensing capabilities will mean that robotics is used in an increasing number of industries, including those with small and varying lot sizes, materials and product geometries…Robotics will make great inroads in service industries, especially health care, where an aging population will require support services, for which human care givers will be too few in number to provide. Robots will likewise play an important role in transportation and in the provision of home services. Robots will also help protect homes and offices, secure borders and monitor the environment in both routine and emergency operations.”

The next generation of robotics puts us on the cusp of another increase in employment in the robotics industry itself. The report’s authors estimate that 300,000 people are already employed in the industrial robotics sector, and an additional 45,000 people will be required by the industry within five years. The service robotics sector is expected to grow even faster than the industrial sector in the medium term, and could itself be a major source of future jobs.

About the report

The report’s authors studied companies with more than 250 employees in the following sectors: automotive; electronics; food and beverages; plastics; chemicals; and pharmaceuticals. The report focused on six countries that are considered to be representative of the global economy – Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea and the U.S.

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