It’s calculated that robots have already taken millions of factory jobs from people across the nation. Now, everyone’s expecting to soon see them in their local stores.
A study from a company called Cornerstone Capital Group has revealed that somewhere in between 6 and 7.5 million jobs could be replaced by robots soon. And when they say soon, they mean in the next 10 years, or so. This is a grave news for many workers since these numbers represent around 38% of the retail workforce. This workforce currently consists of 16 million workers, and replacing 6-7.5 million of them would mean that more jobs would be lost to automation than the manufacturing has lost when it was deemed obsolete.
That still doesn’t mean that you’ll be seeing robots running around through your local supermarket. However, automated checkout lines are something that might be expected. Of course, this would make cashiers needless, which will be enough to eliminate millions of jobs on its own. Even the report has stated that the cashiers are among the most easily automatable jobs. This is expected to hit the woman workers especially hard since they consist the majority of the cashiers.
But that’s not all, and even the sales jobs will lose workers since the customers will be able to find what they need via smartphones or touchscreen computers that could be set in these stores, says Cornerstone’s head of research, John Wilson. He also stated that this doesn’t mean that human workers will be completely eliminated from the stores. However, a lot less of them will be needed for running the store than it is currently.
Wilson also stated that it’s predicted that the automation might increase the efficiency at jobs like inventory control, or stocking shelves. Robots aren’t expected to be able to do these jobs on their own, or at least not yet. However, the number of necessary workers will reduce dramatically in the next decade.
The retail industry was already hit pretty hard, and over 3,300 stores are scheduled to close by the end of the year. However, it’s expected that more jobs will be lost to automation than to closing stores.
It’s discovered that rising wages might also help when it comes to driving automation. Major retailers, including Walmart, which is the nation’s biggest employer, have decided to increase the wages. This was done in order to retain the needed workforce.
Another factor is the e-commerce, which is becoming quite a competition. Due to e-commerce, the retailers need to be even more efficient than before, only to even be able to compete. Amazon, for example, already uses robots for many of the jobs in their fulfillment centers. In turn, this causes major efficiency, since the workers spend less time per order, and the customers don’t have to wait long for the package to leave the warehouse.