Automation to kill Southeast Asian jobs: WEF

Experts at the World Economic Forum have warned that huge employment problems will hit the region if skills do not keep up with technology advances.

A number of experts attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Hanoi, Vietnam, have warned that Southeast Asia could face huge employment problems if it does improve its skills fast.

Countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand could see millions of low-skilled workers losing their jobs due to the introduction of automation.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said those Southeast Asian countries that depend heavily on manufacturing for their GDP will be among the worst affected.

Nguyen’s viewpoint was supported by a study conducted by Cisco and Oxford Economics, which showed that about 6.6 million jobs in the region are likely to become redundant over the next 10 years due to the rise of new, disruptive technologies.

Phu Huyn of the International Labour Organisation said the hardest hit will be jobs with routine tasks such as machine operators, cashiers, waiters and drivers.

“"In Southeast Asia, these jobs are often filled by women and workers with lower qualifications and they in particular are highly vulnerable,” he told the AFP.

The WEF’s Asia-Pacific head, Justin Wood, said that the region has a decade “to transition into something more higher value added”.

Failing which, “they will not be globally competitive at all”.


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