upskilling

How Upskilling Can Pave the Way for Blue-Collar Workers' Employment in the Future

To be successful in the age of automation, blue-collar workers need upskilling and training to survive in the market hastily opting for robots over humans
Entrepreneur Staff
Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific
3 min read

With artificial intelligence (AI) and automation displacing several human jobs, many blue-collar workers will require special skills to survive in the future. Unlike white collar workers, blue collar workers spend significant amount of time in physical activities. Whereas, the white-collar worker typically performs work in an office environment and may involve sitting at a computer or desk. To be successful at their jobs in the age of automation, blue-collar workers may also need upskilling and training.

A study by MIT Technology Review estimates that 83 percent of jobs that make less than $20 per hour are threatened by automation. Some examples of technologies that threaten workers are self-driving cars and automated cleaning devices, which could place blue-collar workers such as truck drivers or janitors out of work. Others have suggested that technological advancement will not lead to blue-collar job unemployment, but rather bring about a change in the types of work that blue-collar workers currently do.

Why You Need to Upskill?

Rupam Biswas, founder and chief executive officer of Singapore-based online job search platform Sendhelper believes it is clear that levels of automation will increase and blue-collar jobs will see applied robotics, which will positively impact productivity. But this, today, is only isolated to industrial robotics.

“Almost all blue-collar jobs will require humans – you will always have the need for tacit knowledge, overseeing, reporting and human handling of technology tools. Tasks required under a job will change but that does not equate to a redundancy. However, upskilling becomes crucial in this case. Productivity gains will instead mean that businesses are capable of further expansion resulting in creation of more jobs,” he says.

Sendhelper is the leading mobile e-commerce platform for services allowing thousands of individuals, service providers and households to interact, book, and pay for home services with ease. Being a post-data company, akin to LinkedIn for blue-collared workers, the company plans to capitalize on the data available on consumption behavior, and workers’ and employers’ preferences by focusing on gamification and AI technologies to create an enhanced, network-based platform that addresses burning issues in employment, skills development and manpower management across different markets.

Bridging the Employment Gap

The demand for other blue-collar workers has been increasing over the years. In fact, there are increasing skills shortages in manufacturing and other areas that could lead to massive revenue losses by 2030. Biswas feels despite the apparent need for skilled blue-collar workers, they are often treated unfairly and hampered by work-related issues.

According to a Manpower 2013 Talent Shortage Survey of nearly 40,000 employers in 41 countries, workers in skilled trades (plumbers, electricians, welders, bricklayers etc) are in the shortest supply. One major reason identified for this gap is lack of skills and information among people about these jobs. Governments, industry organizations and NGOs all across the world have put efforts to address this gap.

In this video, Biswas, shares three ways upskilling can create paths to employment for blue collar workers:

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