4th industrial revolution to create 585,000 jobs

The fourth industrial revolution is expected to create up to 585,000 jobs over the next 10 years in 12 new industrial sectors, with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) leading growth, according to two state South Korean-run institutes.

The projection from research by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) is in stark contrast to widespread speculation that the fourth industrial revolution will lead to fewer jobs.

The 12 new industries are: internet of things (IoT)-based home appliances; electric autonomous vehicles; robots; drones; biotechnology and healthcare; premium consumer goods; high-tech new materials; VR and AR; next-generation semiconductors; next-generation displays; eco-friendly ships, and energy.

The jobs in those industries will account for 11.5 percent of total employment in 2025, up from 4.5 percent in 2015.

By number, premium consumer goods will create the most jobs, or 136,500, up 6.3 percent during the period, followed by robots with 83,900 jobs and energy with 67,800.

In terms of average annual growth, the AR and VR areas are expected to expand by 32.2 percent a year through 2025, compared with 2.8 percent in 2015, the two institutes noted. They said the two sectors could create around 45,400 jobs, up from 2,800 in 2015.

The projection came as AR is sweeping the nation with the release of “Pokemon Go,” a GPS-based AR mobile game whose number of users topped 7 million a week after the game’s launch.

The growth rates of eco-friendly ships, drones and electric autonomous vehicles are also expected to be more than 20 percent.

There are concerns that the fourth industrial revolution could reduce jobs, but they were mainly because there were not enough reviews on new industries, observers said.

“Due to the advanced technology, it is inevitable for blue-collar workers to lose jobs, but there will be new jobs in newly emerging sectors,” an official of the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) said.

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