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Vietnamese workers to compete with robots for jobs

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Instead of resisting the robotization trend or the 4.0 revolution, cheap labor markets like Vietnam should learn to live with the trend, experts say.

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Visitors to TH True Milk’s factory in Nghe An province are amazed when they see only one automatic watering machine working on a vast grass field equal to four football grounds. 

In the packing division, there are only a few workers on duty. Meanwhile, only two workers take care of thousands of cows just by looking at a computer screen.

This is the automatic production line sourced from Israel being used by TH True Milk to improve its competitiveness.

Many textile & garment factories in Vietnam have cut the labor force and increased the number of robots. Truong Van Cam from the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (Vinatas) commented that automation is a must to improve profits. In the next decade, in some production phases like chemical fiber production, the replacement by robots will be at a very high level.

ILO (the International Labor Organization) warned that low-paid workers in Asian countries will face the risk of losing jobs because of automatic production. The proportion of these workers is 70 percent in Vietnam.

Some analysts have reassured the public that robotization won’t affect Vietnam in the immediate time, because the labor market remains competitive, while robots remain relatively expensive.

However, in reality, many enterprises have begun utilizing high technologies and automation in their production despite high spending on technologies as they see the benefits of robotization.

Some analysts believe that robotization will speed up in the upcoming time as businesses have been warned about low productivity. A report from the General Statistics Office showed that Vietnam’s productivity was $9,894 in 2016 if calculating  purchasing power parity, just equal to 7 percent of Singapore’s and 87.4 percent of Laos’. 

According to analysts, Vietnam is still in the process of approaching mass production (2.0 industry) and trying to switch to automation (3.0 industry). So, the question now is not ‘will robots deprive jobs of workers?’ but ‘when will robots deprive jobs of workers?”

International experts say some Asian economies once resisted robotization for the fear of massive unemployment. However, the irreversible trend is that workers with low skills will be gradually replaced by robots.

Stephen Groff from the Asian Development Bank said making investments in manpower is the only way to resist the invasion of robots. 

 

 

Source: VietNamNet

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