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Singapore Among Countries Most Prepared for Automation and Future of Work in Asia Pacific

Stephanie Siow
July 22, 2021

Singapore least at-risk country from automation; ranks second for preparedness with a score of 70%

SINGAPORE, 14 July 2021Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today released The Future of Work is Now: Is APAC Ready? report by Deloitte, commissioned by Autodesk Foundation, exploring the state of automation and the future of work across 12 APAC countries including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The report aims to help identify the labour markets most vulnerable to the impact of digital change in APAC and in doing so, uncover solutions to help workforces adapt and thrive.

The research finds Singapore is the country least at risk from automation, ranking second for preparedness, behind Australia and ahead of Japan. This is in part due to the nation’s capacity to invest in education, assist at-risk workers, and support workers’ transition to new roles and industries.  India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are the countries most at risk and least prepared for automation.

“Automation creates opportunities for a better future of work, particularly in APAC where 60% of the global workforce resides. With automation, humans can offload jobs that are dangerous, dull or dirty, and focus on more productive and higher-value work. For example, the use of robots can reduce common manufacturing injuries by up to 72%. By leveraging automation intelligently across major industries, such as construction, logistics and transport, we can generate significant economic benefits and boost productivity,” said Haresh Khoobchandani, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Autodesk.

Construction, logistics and manufacturing in Singapore are on track to realise full potential of automation

The arrival of COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and cast automation in a new light – an opportunity for workers to up-level their skills, work alongside automation, and subsequently take on high-value-adding tasks. Singapore performs well in terms of resilience against the impact of automation on key sectors – construction, logistics and manufacturing.

“Even though COVID-19 has dealt a strong blow to labour-intensive industries such as construction, logistics and manufacturing, a sustained recovery is expected for Singapore as the country has long prioritized digitalisation and upskilling for its economy, enabling its workforce to deftly adapt to the disruptions,”

“Similarly, Autodesk is committed to helping the workforce thrive in this new era of automation. That means new credentialling and certification programs to give employees the skills they need to succeed as well as partnerships across the public and private sector to make workforce development a priority.

Getting proactive in addressing the risks of automation

Digital change and automation are driving enormous productivity gains in the world of work. The opportunity to usher in a new era of work is tremendous, but it is important that countries take proactive steps to mitigate the negative aspects of this shift. This includes raising the readiness of sectors that are highly at risk of automation, and supporting disadvantaged workers, such as individuals with lower education levels.

Having the right infrastructure and skills will mean that countries can create new roles, and transition workers into these roles with the adaptability and resilience required.

To that end, the report highlights a series of proactive steps that should be taken to harness the benefits and address the risks, including:

  1. Increasing awareness of the need to adapt, changing the narrative in these regions to focus on the opportunities created in terms of higher, value-add activities not the risk of job losses created by automation.
  2. Fund industry-specific programs for digital transformation helping smaller businesses to access new, digital technologies to help accelerate automation usage and adoption.
  3. Invest in learning programs to help disadvantaged workers and build resilience, promoting the uptake of reskilling or upskilling courses to help workers to continually reinvent themselves in an ever-evolving environment of disruption.

APAC is a diverse region and the challenges facing individual countries when it comes to automation are vastly different. However, the report points to one common conclusion, regardless of geography – that automation will create opportunity, if the right support mechanisms are put in place, and the focus is put squarely on helping workers to succeed.

Stephanie Siow