ANN ARBOR, MI – The Association for Advancing Automation will release its newest white paper, “Work in the Automation Age: Sustainable Careers Today and Into the Future,” at Automate 2017 at Chicago’s McCormick Place April 3-6.

The white paper explores the impact of automation on the ever-evolving job market and the growing shortage of skilled employees with experience and training in advanced technologies. A3 examines the types of jobs that are going unfilled and reviews workforce development initiatives, including education, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training that will fill labor shortages and support ongoing economic growth and productivity. 

The white paper will open Automate 2017 at a jobs forum titled “Working in the Automation Age” at 10:30 a.m. April 3.

The forum will take place in the “Future of Automation” theater, located near the entrance to the Automate 2017 exhibit hall. The white paper will explore a series of key topics:

The Skills Gap and its Impact

Studies show an increasing skills gap with as many as two million jobs going unfilled in the manufacturing industry alone in the next decade. Fully 80 percent of manufacturers report a shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production positions, and the shortage could cost U.S. manufacturers 11 percent of their annual earnings. Manufacturing executives reported an average of 94 days to recruit engineering and research employees and 70 days to recruit skilled production workers. The skills gap is driving up what are already above average wages and benefits in U.S. manufacturing.

Evolution in Job Titles 

In the automation age, as in the computer age before it, job titles shift to reflect the impact of technology. As lower-level tasks are automated with advanced technologies such as robots, new job titles and industries arise across nearly every economic sector. 

A recent study concluded that occupations that have 10 percent more new job titles grow 5 percent faster. 

Robots and Job Creation

As employers add automation technologies, such as robots, the number of jobs continues to rise. As one of numerous examples, Amazon had ~45,000 employees when it introduced robots in 2014. While the company continues to add robots to its operations, it has grown to over 90,000 employees, with a drive to hire more than 100,000 new people by the end of 2018. 

Innovative Training

Employers, vocational schools, and universities are offering innovative training approaches that give workers alternatives to the traditional (and expensive) high-school-to-college-to-job route. Employers such as GM are revitalizing apprenticeships, recognizing the significant advantage those programs offer.

“The opportunity for jobs in the automation age is huge—and growing,” said Jeff Burnstein, A3 president. “As advanced technologies automate low-level tasks, companies are looking for employees with new skills and training to use those technologies in existing jobs and to meet companies’ anticipated future demand. Our white paper reflects extensive research and offers insight into the evolution of education and the rewarding, sustainable jobs of the automation age.”

Registration Open

More than 20,000 attendees are expected to attend Automate 2017, from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. Attendee registration is still open at the following link: Automate 2017.