The challenge of work automation

14, November

Professor Víctor Manuel Sánchez Valdés states in his column published in the Mexican newspaper Vanguardia that for ...

Professor Víctor Manuel Sánchez Valdés states in his column published in the Mexican newspaper Vanguardia that for several years in many countries a growing phenomenon that threatens the viability of millions of jobs has been debated, which is the increasing automation of work. In fact, according to estimates by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of the University of Oxford, 47 percent of jobs in the United States are at risk of disappearing in the next 20 years and it is believed that the danger to the countries in process of development may be greater.

He says that it is not the first time that technological advances threaten the permanence of millions of jobs, in the past centuries we find many examples and the total amount of work has not diminished. However, the vertiginous technological development suggests that such accelerated automation, for the first time, is a risk with the potential to generate irreparable damage to labor markets.

Some authors studied by the professor agree in the imminent disappearance of millions of jobs, others consider that the jobs that are lost will be replaced by others that are created from technological innovation, which is a feasible option. However, the process of adaptation will not be easy in all cases, that is, if for example production line operators  jobs are lost and spaces for systems engineers are increased, the former will hardly be able to fill the new vacancies.

So in any of those scenarios, being the mass disappearance of jobs via automation or the rapid transformation of jobs, Victor says that as a country and especially as a region, we must be prepared. He says that a first starting point is to discuss seriously this global trend and jointly generate policies that help us deal with this problem.

In that context, he adds that the sum of efforts between the different actors is important, especially government authorities, businessmen of the region, educational institutions, civil society organizations, unions, media and citizens in general.

The author believes that a fundamental way to deal with the changes that the labor market will face is to introduce changes in the education system, to guide the training of young people to future needs, but also to offer them tools that allow them to adapt better to the rapid changes that the labor market will experience in the coming years.

Therefore, in the design of the study programs and in their reform, the opinion of the businessmen is fundamental. The southeast region of Coahuila has the opportunity to anticipate a process that will sooner or later reach us, Sanchez Valdes says that it is up to us to take advantage of this opportunity or let it pass, with the risks that this implies.