Updated: Feb 24
New research from the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) suggests that the rapid spread of industrial robots has not made a dent in employment figures, instead, new tasks have been created for the workforce alongside ones performed by machines. At 309 units per 10,000 employees, the robot density in Germany’s manufacturing industry is the third highest worldwide. At the same time, the number of people employed in Germany reached 44 million in 2017, the highest figure since reunification. “The results of the ZEW study on the labour market confirm what we’re observing in leading industrial nations across the world,” comments Junji Tsuda, president of the International Federation of Robotics. “The modernisation of production shifts hazardous, unhealthy and monotonous work to the machines. In the vast majority of cases, only certain activities of a job are automated and not the entire spectrum of an employee´s work. However, if jobs are cut – the ZEW reports that 5% of employees were replaced within five years – these losses are compensated for by new jobs overall.