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How IoT can be used to counteract the shortage of skilled workers

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In the current climate, skills shortages are a significant challenge for companies across a range of industries. We are in the midst of what some media are calling "the great wave of layoffs" - a time when the gig economy and the opportunity to earn money through content creation are awakening dreams of easy money in many people.

Dreams that often do not come true and that prevent people from continuing their education. And this in turn makes the demand for qualified workers a growing and often worrying concern for most HR departments.

Fortunately, the Internet of Things (IoT) offers solutions to reduce or even close existing and future skills gaps. By using IoT devices and connectivity, companies can automate processes, optimize resource allocation and increase productivity, paving the way for a sustainable future.

This article provides you with an overview of how advanced smart IoT solutions can be used to address the skills shortage. This will enable companies to better manage the growing gap between labor supply and demand in today's market.

workers with metal sheet lifting device

The global shortage of skilled workers

When industries grow and expand, the demand for qualified specialists increases. There is more demand and less supply. Today, there is a shortage of people with the necessary expertise and qualifications to fill these positions. The consequences of the skills shortage often intensify competition between companies, hinder innovation and delay projects.

Solutions to the labor shortage include promoting education and training programs, recruiting skilled workers from other countries and investing in technological advances that can close the skills gap.

IoT as a possible solution

IoT refers to a network of connected devices that can collect and exchange data to communicate and perform tasks without human intervention. The IoT enables industry to automate repetitive and low-skilled tasks so that skilled professionals can focus on critical tasks.

IoT can improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity by streamlining processes and analyzing data in real time. With the ability to connect devices, machines and systems, IoT offers potential for innovation and growth in various sectors and creates new job opportunities in the emerging field of IoT development.

The IoT automates processes. Where ten employees or assistants used to be required, a single person can now do the work with the help of robotics and IoT devices.

IoT in the modern labor market

In a technology-driven world, companies are constantly looking for ways to optimize their operations and reduce reliance on manual labor. IoT offers a solution by connecting devices and systems, enabling seamless communication and data exchange and supporting the automation of routine tasks.

IoT provides real-time data and analytics that enable companies to make informed decisions and optimize processes. Therefore, IoT is very relevant in the modern working world as it addresses labor shortages and drives economic growth.

Factors that lead to a shortage of skilled workers

There are several factors that contribute to the shortage of skilled workers:

Demographic change

An ageing population and low birth rates have led to fewer young workers entering the labor market, creating a gap between retiring skilled workers and young workers with the necessary qualifications.

Technological progress

The education system often struggles to keep pace with technological advances, leading to a mismatch between the skills needed by industry and the skills mastered by workers.

Lack of vocational training

In some countries, the emphasis is placed on academic education and vocational or technical training is neglected.

experts checking information on tablet pc in a modern factory

Globalization and outsourcing

Affects the availability of skilled labor locally and forces companies to look for skilled labor in countries where it is cheaper.

Perception and career choice

Careers in certain occupations that require specialized skills have a stigma attached to them that can discourage people from pursuing education in these fields, exacerbating the shortage.

Earn money fast

There is a gig economy - from Uber and Airbnb to Upwork and content creation on YouTube - in this type of environment people are attracted to the 'quick buck'. As a result, a large percentage of people are simply not interested in traditional careers.

How IoT can alleviate the shortage of skilled workers

The IoT plays a critical role in alleviating the skills shortage by enabling companies to optimize or automate their operations, improve productivity and reduce reliance on skilled labor. Through remote monitoring, companies can extend their reach and manage multiple sites from central control centers without the need for skilled workers to be physically on site.

The IoT also enables predictive maintenance and troubleshooting, immediate detection of problems and maximizes equipment availability. This allows companies to schedule maintenance and fix problems remotely, reducing the need for qualified technicians on site.

Benefits of IoT automation solutions to reduce reliance on manual skilled labor

Increased efficiency

Structures processes and eliminates the need for human intervention in repetitive, time-consuming tasks, resulting in higher productivity.

Cost savings

By reducing the need for manual skilled labor, labor costs are saved.

Improved accuracy

Greater accuracy and precision in the execution of tasks, fewer errors and more reliable results.

Increased security

Hazardous work can be carried out by machines, ensuring a safe environment for workers.

Scalability

Enables companies to expand their operations quickly without having to hire and train additional specialists.

Real-time monitoring and data analysis

Enables real-time monitoring of processes and equipment to identify inefficiencies, optimize operations and make informed decisions.

Use of IoT to improve the existing workforce

By utilizing IoT technology, companies can improve the skills of their existing workforce while ensuring they have a competent and skilled workforce in the future. IoT sensors can collect data from operations, providing real-time insights into performance and identifying areas where training is needed. IoT-powered virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tools can also provide training environments where workers can practice complex tasks in a safe environment.

IoT solutions to combat the shortage of skilled workers

IoT solutions can be used effectively to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. Here are a few examples:

Remote monitoring and control

Enables remote monitoring and control of equipment and processes by capturing data in real time, reducing the need for on-site skilled labor.

Predictive maintenance and troubleshooting

Enables predictive maintenance by continuously monitoring device performance and collecting data on various parameters. Problems can be quickly identified and rectified through analysis.

Collaborative robots (cobots) in production and logistics

IoT connectivity enables seamless integration between cobots and other systems, allowing for real-time coordination and collaboration. Robots can be remotely controlled or programmed to perform physically demanding tasks, freeing up skilled workers to focus on more complex or value-adding activities.

factory worker engineer working in factory using tablet computer

IoT solutions as the last line of defense in the fight against the shortage of skilled workers

The skills shortage refers to the gap between the demand for skilled workers and the available supply in various industries. This shortage has far-reaching implications for businesses, the economy and society as a whole. The consequences are slower economic growth, lower productivity, higher operating costs and lost business opportunities.

Companies often struggle to find qualified candidates for open positions, leading to lengthy recruitment processes and increased competition for the best talent. This also puts pressure on existing professionals, who can be subject to high workloads and burnout. To address this challenge, investment in training programs, educational initiatives and apprenticeships is crucial to develop the necessary skills among the workforce.

As more and more assets become connected, the IoT is expected to revolutionize industries, leading to a transformation of jobs and new roles. Automation through IoT will continue to replace repetitive and monotonous tasks, allowing workers to focus on activities that require critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. This shift will require workers to upskill and adapt to the changing technology landscape.

IoT will create new job opportunities in areas such as data analytics, cybersecurity, IoT device management and systems integration. The Internet of Things will also enable teleworking and flexible working hours, which will contribute to a better work-life balance and open up opportunities for a more distributed workforce.

Are you ready to tackle the skills shortage in your company with IoT?

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Published October 14, 2023

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