Will the number of jobs increase or decrease as a result of the ongoing digitalization in the chemical and life sciences industry? It’s not a question of more or less jobs. Automatization and robotization will principally have disruptive effects on the job content. As a consequence, employees and managers will need more specific competences. Tailormade training programmes to prepare the personnel for these jobs of the future will therefore be the big challenge for both the education system and the HR policy in the companies.
This is the summarized conclusion of ‘The Future of Jobs in Chemistry and Life Sciences’, a sector-specific study of professor Ans De Vos of the Antwerp Management School (AMS), commissioned by essenscia in 2016. The study was conducted in close collaboration with 50 experts from 25 different chemical and pharmaceutical companies in Flanders. The researchers gathered valuable and direct feedback during four interactive workshops.
The key findings of this study on the impact of the fourth industrial revolution give a more nuanced view on a crucial debate which is typically being dominated by generalities and a polarizing undertone. The study underlines that a basic technical knowledge remains essential, but the importance of social skills will certainly increase. So there is a need for experts who are all-rounders at the same time. Moreover, profound digital skills are a must for each employee, but digital natives can help their colleagues in making this transition. The study also points out specific recommendations for the educational system. That needs to be more practice-orientated, even on the university level, and has to focus more on the development of soft skills like teamwork.
In brief, the current era of big data and Industry 4.0, offer several opportunities to make jobs more efficient and more sustainable.