I’ve been trying to work out what is going to be the implications for employment going forward as the impact of new technology takes full effect over the next decade.
There is a lot going on today with robots numbering to 2.1 million in 2018. There are five major markets representing 73 per cent of the total global sales volume in 2017, China, Japan, Korea, the US and Germany.
A study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 400 million and 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030.
Apart from robots we will have autonomous vehicles replacing millions of professional drivers, self-service retail checkouts with no staff, decline in bricks and mortar retail due to on-line shopping, etc.
My big worry is the Middle East and North Africa where we have the highest unemployment rates in the world (this has been the case for many years).
A better educated population, such as we have in the GCC, are more demanding of governments to support the creation of new, meaningful & attractive jobs in a part of the world with a rapidly growing population.
In the 2015 UN education index Bahrain came 67th just behind Kyrgyzstan and Andorra.
This does not bode well when trying to attract investors from overseas who are looking for well-educated locals as a key requirement.
We are competing with the usual culprits in the top 10 with Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway and Germany filling the top five positions in the index. They are followed by Ireland, Iceland, US, Netherlands and the UK making up the rest.
Bahrain does have an advantage due to the size of the population. When you check out the top 20 countries who are the best when it comes to Gross Domestic Product per capita in the CIA Factbook Bahrain comes in at number 20.
Out of the top 20, eight of the countries have a population of less than one million. Of the other 12 countries nine of them have populations less than ten million so on this measure, small is beautiful.
As in business being the biggest is not always the best. Being different is always the best way to stand out from the crowd and deliver long term above average success. Being different has a big payoff.
In the top 20 list I refer to above is Switzerland at number thirteen.
They have for a long time consistently ‘punched above their weight’ when it comes to being one of the most successful countries.
When you examine what the Swiss secret is it is all down to five words that sum up what they focus on to be different.
They are Creative, they focus on Learning, especially school education, they are Attractive to overseas investors, they are Futuristic focused on tomorrow and they create a large pool of quality local Talent.
According to the EDB the reasons to do business in Bahrain is its central Gulf location, low cost of operations, talented workforce and stable economy.
I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
Gordon is the former president and chief executive of BMMI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org