Companies are investing again – and that could mean more digitalisation, less routine labour, but not fewer jobs.
The depreciation of the Swiss franc versus the euro in 2017 has helped many exporting companies to at least partially recover their margins. This new situation allows companies to think about investing again.
According to surveys, companies’ planned investments are mainly focused on cutting costs by optimising the procurement or the production processes. Many Swiss companies aim to increase their competitiveness with investment in new technologies and digitalisation, as Credit Suisse’s SME survey of 2016 unveiled. For employees, these new technologies may be viewed as a bonus, as they can replace a considerable amount of routine work.
Replaced by Machines
Based on the share of routine labor in total employment in each sector, we can estimate the potential for substitution of human labor by intelligent machines. Across all sectors in Switzerland, every third job could theoretically be automatised today.
In industrial sectors, this share is higher. For example in the machine industry, 52 percent of jobs could be replaced by machines and in the pharmaceutical sector, the figure is 48 percent.
These figures are, however, very poor estimates for the actual proportion of jobs that will be substituted in the near future, as technological advances take time to filter through to the entire economy. What is more, history shows us that these disruptive processes tend to create more new jobs than they destroy.
Source: Federal Statistical Office, Credit Suisse