Digitization is creating new technology jobs across industries, a new Schneider Electric report shows

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  • 45% of surveyed companies say digitization will be key to job creation in industrial workshops
  • 70% believe digitalization will help address talent shortages
  • Increasing demands for sustainability in industries expanding work roles in the plant

RUEIL-MALMAISON, France, January 9, 2024 /CSRwire/ – New research from Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, revealed that almost half (45%) of industrial companies believe that digitization will be the main reason for the creation of new operational technology (OT) jobs in the next three years.

The study, commissioned by Schneider Electric and conducted by global research leader Omdia, surveyed 407 industrial companies ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises to large companies in Western Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden), the US, China, India and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines). The survey highlights the scale of the global industry skills crisis, with talent acquisition a key challenge for more than half of respondents (52%).

However, he also identified a cure for this problem. As well as creating jobs, over two-thirds (70%) of respondents agree that digitization will help address talent shortages, highlighting the potential of digital tools to deliver more than just productivity and efficiency.

As the skills crisis rages, the industrial workplace is undergoing rapid change. Sustainability goals and advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and digital twins are increasingly being integrated into the workforce. The survey found that 45% and 47% respectively believe that the growing demands of industrial companies to meet environmental and social sustainability goals will require a significant expansion of existing plant positions.

“Digitalization not only benefits productivity and overall efficiency. This is vital to solving some of the people-centric challenges facing industrial enterprises,” he said Ali Hajj Faraj, Senior Vice President, Digital Factory, Industrial Automation at Schneider Electric. “There is a real opportunity for industrial enterprises to optimize and enhance OT roles. By reducing time spent on administrative tasks and empowering people to better realize their potential, we can solve many of the key challenges facing these businesses and help build a more sustainable future.”

The future of work in operational roles

The survey found that over half of respondents (52%) see talent acquisition and retention as a challenge, but one that can be overcome, indicating a level of optimism is shared among industrial businesses about overcoming the challenges of workforce.

Three in five (60%) believe OT roles will change over the next three years, either moderately (41%) or significantly (19%). In addition, a large majority (73%) agree that digitalization will significantly change the nature of work in the next three years. Three in ten (31%) believe that quality control roles have been significantly increased or improved by digitalisation.

The survey also found that over the next three years, industrial companies expect new skills in areas such as robotics programming and integration (49% of respondents say they have no or insufficient skills in this area) and data processing, visualization and analytics (average more than 30% have no or insufficient skills in these areas). While respondents said they prioritized investments in data processing, visualization and analytics, robotics programming and integration was listed as only an average priority for nearly half of those surveyed. Therefore, a key recommendation from the research is for industrial companies to work with partners in the industrial ecosystem who can help address the technology skills shortage with solutions, training and other opportunities to prepare their workforce for the future.

“The changing nature of the industrial workforce is and will increasingly require investment in digitization to empower staff and improve productivity and efficiency,” said Alex West, Senior Principal Analyst, Industrial Internet of Things and Sustainability at Omdia. “If they don’t, the broader and more serious long-term impact will be on innovation and the inability to mitigate the talent shortage.”

The full report, titled The future of work in industry, may be available here.

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Schneider Electric is a European multinational company providing digital energy and automation solutions for efficiency and sustainability.

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