With the increase in productivity, the introduction of industrial robots increased the salaries of employees. At the same time, industrial robots have also changed the labor market by increasing the number of employment opportunities for highly qualified employees, while the opportunities for low-skilled employees are decreasing.
The “Robots at Work” study, written by Georg Graetz, a researcher at the Uppsala University Economics Department and Guy Michaels of the London School of Economics, examines the impact of industrial robots on jobs, productivity and growth. Research, empirical analysis of the economic performance of industrial robots, is based on statistics from 17 countries from 1993 to 2007 in 14 different types of industry.
Industrial robots are programmable and widely used for assembly, packaging, inspection and harvesting of agricultural products. In the period studied, the use of industrial robots increased sharply, while robot prices fell by about 80 percent, taking into account increased quality.
“We see that industrial robots increase employee salaries and increase productivity, and that the number of jobs for less qualified employees, to some extent the medium-skilled, decreases, and the opportunities for high-quality growth,” says Georg Graetz.
In other words, the analysis shows that industrial robots increase salaries to employees.
“The most likely gains through the introduction of robots are shared between the company and its employees.”
The composition of the labor market is changing to a higher percentage of highly educated employees while at the same time the survey shows that the total number of jobs does not affect industrial robots.
Industrial robots boosted annual GDP growth in countries surveyed by 0.37 percentage points, while labor productivity increased by 0.36 percentage points.
“That means that without industrial robots, labor productivity growth would be about five percent lower for the 14 years we’ve been studying.”
The contribution of the robot to the economy is comparable to the economic importance of railways in the 19th century or the recent contribution of information and communication technology.
“In this context, it is interesting to note that industrial robots make up just 2 percent of the capital, which is considerably less than the technological driving forces for growth in the past.”
Of the countries surveyed, the largest number of robots was increased in Germany, Denmark and Italy. Countries that had a faster growth in the number of robots also had a greater increase in labor productivity.
Research results suggest that an increasing number of robots produce reduced productivity growth – ie there is limited potential for using robots in production. But scientists still believe that robots will continue to contribute to increased growth and productivity.
“Industrial robots are being developed and will be able to do more and at the same time come new types of robots, such as medical robots that can perform surgery or different types of transport robots, which will contribute to continuous growth and production increases.