At the end of January, the UWV (Dutch insurer) published research results on 'the labour market in 2019' (in the Netherlands). This report briefly describes various developments that occurred in 2018 and looks ahead to what 2019 will bring us. As it turns out, the shortage on the labour market has increased in the past year and expectations are that this will continue to increase in the coming year. What is the solution to these staff shortages?
Sufficient vacancies, few employees
More than half of the respondents indicated that due to the shortage on the labour market, vacancies are filled less quickly. Given the prediction for 2019, which is estimated to create 1.2 million vacancies compared to 1 million in 2018, employers expect to have even more difficulty finding suitable personnel in the coming year.
What do these results actually mean? There are two consequences. Firstly, companies can no longer handle the work. There is a lot of demand for production, but due to a shortage of personnel, companies cannot meet this demand. This also means that companies are not given the opportunity to grow. Secondly, employees are faced with an increase in work pressure in order to still be able to meet the growing demand for production. In the short term, this problem does not seem to change unless the business community takes fundamental measures.
'employers expect to have even more difficulty finding staff in the coming year'
Solutions to staff shortages
One of these measures is to invest in training and education. This allows employees within the company to shift positions and fill vacancies. However, this does not seem sufficient because it does not result in more employees on balance. Another important point for companies is to think about a way of retaining personnel because retaining suitable personnel is becoming increasingly difficult. This can be done, for example, by offering flexible working hours or by increasing the salary. But the most important development that can resist the growing staff shortage is investing in automation and robotization.
Automation and the use of robots is often seen as a threat by employees. People are afraid that robots will take over work from humans and that in the long term there will be no work left. Nevertheless, robotization has a number of advantages and for a large part of the business community it seems insurmountable to study the possibilities.
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Automating and robotizing
For a long time robotisation was not available for every sector. Automation by means of robots was often expensive in both purchase and maintenance and therefore did not yield a profit for the final operating result. Nowadays, developments within robotics are going like a spear and we speak of a '4th industrial revolution'. There is the rise of robots in healthcare, so-called care robots and robots that have been specially developed to work together with people, the collaborative robot.
Especially the last one is interesting and is also called cobot. The cobot is a development that should make automation possible for everyone, including small and medium sized companies. Besides the fact that the cobot can compensate for personnel shortages, it also has a positive effect on employees. By optimizing business processes, production is made more flexible and the work pressure on the employee is reduced. In addition, cobots can take over dangerous, monotonous tasks from employees, freeing up their hands for other tasks. In this way, employees develop on a personal level and an attractive working environment is created.
For 2019, and certainly beyond, robotization will become increasingly important in the fight against staff shortages. We believe that the cobot will play an important role in this. WiredWorkers is specialized in automation by means of collaborative robotics. Take a look at our website and discover the possibilities of automation for your company.