India among countries most vulnerable, least prepared for automation in APAC: Study


(This story originally appeared in 65532262 on Jul 19, 2021)

India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are the countries most at risk but least prepared for the coming wave of automation triggered by Covid.

Indian businesses rank fifth among 12 Asia Pacific (APAC) nations for risk of automation and ninth for level of preparedness, a study by Deloitte and global software firm Autodesk showed. India has a greater likelihood of being impacted from automation due to larger employment shares in agriculture, manufacturing and construction, it added. At the same time, industries considered to be at lower risk of automation -namely education, public administration and finance- comprise only 7% of India’s total employment.

India’s preparedness score, which measures the ability of countries to capitalise on automation and help disadvantaged workers, stood at 44% compared to the APAC average of 55%. Australia received the highest score at 72%, while Pakistan received the lowest at 40%. India scored 47% in its ability to capitalise on automation compared to advanced tech adopters in APAC such as Singapore that scored 71%.

As India’s construction sector goes through a wave of digitization post the pandemic, it is the fifth most vulnerable ahead of Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar and the Philippines.

Similarly, in agriculture, India, Philippines and Indonesia have a higher likelihood of automation for the sector, even as Pakistan’s agri-sector was at the highest risk of impact from automation.

India’s mining sector has the second-highest risk of impact from automation after Bangladesh. The sector’s vulnerability to automation stems from its relatively low skill requirements, its high degree of routine and manual tasks, and use of direct physical activity to operate machinery, the study noted.

As Covid-19 accelerates adoption of automation across the world, close to half of all businesses in APAC intend to increase their adoption of robotic process automation over the next year, the report finds.

“Automation creates opportunities for new, more meaningful types of work as it replaces mundane or repetitive manual tasks, but the state of preparedness of countries and industries will determine whether they benefit from these advances. Improving digital literacy, supporting disadvantaged workers, and putting in place the right infrastructure and skills will help create new roles that workers can transition into,” Rajeev Mittal, Regional Director, India & SAARC, Autodesk, said.

The study analysed labour markets across 12 APAC countries including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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