The ICT Lounge
 
Section 5.1:
Effects of ICT on Employment
 
ICT has had many impacts upon our lives both for the better and for the worse.

This section looks at some of these impacts that ICT has had upon employment and we discuss industries that have seen a reduction in their workforce and industries that have seen an increase.

Key Concepts of this section:
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Know that ICT can affect employment.
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Be able to describe industries where there has been a reduction of employment.
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Be able to describe industries where there has been a increase in employment.

Impacts of ICT on Employment
(the good and the bad)
Key Words:
Automation, Connectivity,
De-skilling, Re-skilling
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When companies and industries started to realise the benefits of using computers, more and more employees were expected to know how to use them. This drastically altered how people went about doing their jobs.

Examples:
Before computers, lots of workers were needed in order to run a business.
 
One person and a computer can do the job
of many office worker
s.
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The introduction of computers into places of employment tends to cause three main effects:

1.
Jobs are lost -
computers replace the human worker.
2.
Jobs are created -
human workers are needed to create / manage the computers.
3.
Retraining -
human workers are trained to be able to use the computers.

Why do businesses use ICT:
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Computer usage in businesses and companies has increased massively within the last 30 years. The benefits that computers bring to businesses is just too hard for the owners to ignore. For example:

1.
Speed
Data can be stored, processed and searched extremely fast.
2.
Volume
Vast quantities of data can be stored in small amounts of space.
3.
Less Paper Work
Computers remove the need for huge quantities of paper-work.
4.
Less Workers
Computers can do the work of many people which saves expenses in wages.
5.
Connectivity
The Internet means that companies can share data or even hold meetings in different countries without actually leaving the office.


What effects has ICT had upon employment?
NOTE:
These effects can be positive or negative depending on your viewpoint.

For example:
A factory boss might install robots because they can work harder and are cheaper than people.
However the people who lose their jobs to the robots will not be too happy.
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Effects of ICT on employment include:
  • Fewer workers needed to achieve the same amount of work
  • Automation in factories (robots doing the work of people)
  • Increased 'tele-working' (working from home)
  • Increased need for highly trained ICT specialists
  • Decreased need for 'labor intensive' workers (like filing, printers etc)
  • Need for workers to be trained more frequently (to keep up with the changes in ICT)
  • Fewer 'face-to-face' meetings as video conferences can be held over the Internet (reduced travel time and cost)
  • De-skilling - where human-based job skills have been lost to machines
  • Re-skilling - where people retrain in order to be able to work with the computers

Areas where ICT has Decreased Employment:
Examples:
The Ford car manufacturing plant (as seen in 1950's) was full of human workers.
 
A modern Ford car factory has very few human workers as their jobs are now being carried out by robots.
 
With millions and millions of web sites out there, web design has become a boom industry.
Many modern movies make use of computer generated imagery (CGI).
The gaming industry has exploded in recent times making it worth billions of dollars every year.
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Unfortunately the increased usage of ICT within industries has seen computers being used to do the jobs that people used to.

This has led to job losses in areas such as:
1.
Manual Repetitive
Jobs
Factory manufacturing, spraying, welding, packing and assembling have seen robots replacing humans. Robots are replacing people because they can do the same job much faster, they can work 24/7 and they do not require wages.

2.
Shop Work
Online shopping (like Amazon) has caused a reduction in the number of shops found on our high streets. More and more people are shopping online because is it generally cheaper and they can get goods delivered.

3.
Bank Cashiers
Use of ATM's have reduced the need for bank cashiers.

4.
Office Work
Traditional office work such as typists and filers have been replaced by computers. One person who knows how to use Word Processors and Databases can replace many typists and filers.

5. Telephone Exchange
Telephone operators have been replaced by computer systems that make telephone connections automatically.

6. Library Work
With the launch of e-books (electronic books) the future of traditional libraries/librarians could be at risk. People could easily download an electronic book instead of having to visit a library.

Areas where ICT has Increased Employment:
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Increased usage of computers has also created new jobs that didn't previously exist. In fact, the computing industry is one of the largest and fastest growing jobs sector in the world.

Examples of where ICT has helped to create new jobs includes:
1.
Network Managers / Technicians
These jobs have been created due to the need for big computer networks within companies. Network managers make sure that computers on the network run smoothly and are secure.

2.
Web Design
The Internet has seen a huge demand for both commercial (business) and personal web sites. Web designers create these sites and keep them up to date.

3.
Computer Imagery
Graphic designers are in high demand to create the visual effects used in web sites, magazines and the movies.

4.
Systems Analyst
These workers are responsible for designing new ICT systems.


5.
Computer Programmers
Programmers create all the software that can be used on a computer. This is a huge industry and produces things like operating systems, applications (word, excel etc) and computer games.

6.
Computer Engineers
Engineers are needed to build the high-tech computers that we use today.


Some videos:
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Here are some links to videos that contain more information about topics discussed regarding the effects of ICT on employment:


Activity!

Click the above task and write-up the required information about how ICT is changing employment. There is also task which requires you to construct a PowerPoint Presentation about changing job skills.

   
Next - Effects of ICT on Working Patterns

Links to Theory Units:
Section 4: Networks and the Effects of using them
Section 6: ICT Applications
Section 7: The Systems Life Cycle
Section 8: Safety and Security
Section 9: Audience
Section 10: Communication
 
Links to Practical Units:
Section 11: File Management
Section 12: Images
Section 13: layout
Section 14: Styles
Section 15: Proofing
Section 16: Graphs and Charts
Section 17: Document Production
Section 18: Data Manipulation
Section 19: Presentations
Section 20: Data Analysis
Section 21: Website Authoring