India among countries most vulnerable, least prepared for automation in Asia Pacific
Automation creates opportunities for new, more meaningful types of work as it replaces mundane or repetitive manual tasks. “However, the state of preparedness of countries and industries will determine whether they benefit from these advances. Improving digital literacy, supporting disadvantaged workers, and putting in place the right infrastructure and skills will help create new roles that workers can transition into,” says Rajeev Mittal, regional director, India & Saarc, Autodesk.
Recently, this San Rafael, California-headquartered IT firm released The Future of Work is Now: Is APAC Ready? research study by Deloitte, exploring the state of automation and the future of work across 12 Apac countries comprising Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The research finds India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are most at risk and least prepared for the coming wave of automation. In particular, India ranks fifth highest in terms of the impact from automation and ninth in terms of level preparedness for this impact. The country faces a greater likelihood of being impacted by automation due to larger employment shares in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, all identified as high-risk industries by the report.
Though India’s construction sector is most likely to be automated, its construction sector is the fifth most vulnerable, ahead of Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar and the Philippines, respectively due to these countries’ greater extent of disadvantage. With a high proportion of routine and manual tasks and low year-on-year global productivity growth (1%, over the past 20 years to 2017), the construction industry is the most likely to be one of the hardest hit by automation across all countries in Apac.
India, the Philippines and Indonesia have a higher likelihood of automation for the agriculture sector, even as Pakistan’s agri-sector was at the highest risk of impact from automation. Increased demand for food and sustainable farming methods is expected to lead to higher adoption of automation and digital solutions. Technologies such as AI can also help reduce spoilage, increase productivity, and add $9 billion to farmer incomes.
According to the report, India’s mining sector has the second-highest risk of impact from automation after Bangladesh. The sector’s vulnerability to automation stems from its relatively low skill requirements, its high degree of routine and manual tasks, and use of direct physical activity to operate machinery.