Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondIn this video, we're going to look at the impacts of automation on the retail workforce. Change creates opportunity. And the use of automation will not only create new roles but will enhance and extend people's ability to carry out their current jobs. Some people think that automation will replace workers. If a machine does it, what do I do? However, this is misleading. Given current technology, less than 5% of jobs are considered to be candidates for full automation. There's still a role for people. Within retail, let's look at Amazon as an example. Over the past three years, it has increased the use of robots working in its warehouses from 1,400 to 45,000. Over the same period, its employee headcount has remained consistent.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsThe effect of automation on the workforce can be seen in countries where it's most common-- Germany, Japan, and South Korea, which actually have some of the lowest rates of unemployment. So if people are still working in an automated retail environment, how are jobs changing? Some automation will result in new types of roles. Think courier driver to drone pilot or shelf stocker to robot operator. And people will be needed to support automated retail processes, whether working on the technology itself or supporting it while it operates. How many times have we heard that there is an unexpected item in the bagging area and had to call for help?

Skip to 1 minute and 17 secondsRemoving the need for people to complete high-volume repetitive tasks or solving complex problems that can be handled by AI will also free them up to be more productive and customer-facing in their current roles. So what are the key skills in a more automated retail world? Undoubtedly, technical knowledge is important. Knowing how to develop, install, and support new automated processes will be increasingly useful. Opportunities will arise not only from technical understanding, but also from people having more time to do what they do best -- thinking, creating, expressing, and empathising with others. The very things that make us human will be the skills in highest demand.

The impact of automation on the retail workforce

There is a common misconception that automation replaces the need for workers.

In this video, you will learn how automation not only creates new roles and demand for new skills, but also enhances and extends people’s ability to carry out their current jobs.

Did anything in the video surprise you about automation? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Have a look at the article under ‘See Also’ for another opinion on the impact of automation on the retail workforce. You can also read about jobs in automation via the links below.

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Digital Skills: Retail