The great economies have always been built on cause and effect. When businesses are primed to succeed, unemployment reduces. The fact is, a company is either in growth or decline, and to ensure our future employment, growth quite obviously is imperative. With future-first thinking, new employment opportunities are created, even as old positions become redundant. This sounds simple enough but is there enough of a focus on the cause of growth – the essential factors that stimulate profitability and employment?
Ivan Radmore, CEO of the free-to-access online business platform BuzzApex, believes we often overlook the essential building blocks. The purpose of a business is to make a profit. Any employment offered is a direct result of that profit. If we accept that employment is a by-product of business, then it’s not difficult to relate that back to unemployment. It is, therefore, reasonable to accept that any country with an unacceptable unemployment ratio to population also suffers from a shackled business environment, as the two are systemic. What is defined as acceptable is very much dependent on the country and industry leaders’ definition.”
Future-Forward is Future Friendly
Many developing countries, possibly in response to their voter base, resist embracing new technologies. The closure of outdated technology results in job losses and the resultant negative press can be costly at the polls. Companies are also warned of the hazards that technology brings to employment but let’s be reminded that the drive-ins and cinemas were replaced with the video stores that employed more people. The video stores have faded out now and yet, if we search for the results of the number of people now needed to run the millions of servers at Google, Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, and the many others that feed us the entertainment we find unbelievable numbers. The “Like” button and “Follow” has created business opportunities that were never considered in the past because we were locked into the present and not looking to the exciting future. It takes brave thinking to embrace future jobs when people are concerned about their current situation. However, history has taught us that those who resist change get left behind. This is a position that ironically fuels job losses.
“As a child, my mother and many others were concerned that bookkeeping was shortly to become a job of the past because of computers, yet today we see the skyline littered with new buildings erected to create office space for all those that are needed to feed and extract data from computers. I hear people telling me today of the threats posed by robots and Artificial Intelligence, but unlike in the past, I’ve realised that technology brings employment and we only need to look at how many are employed in the manufacture and distribution of smartphones to understand this point. The faster we embrace innovation the better life will be for the next generation. This is not a time to fear progress,” says Radmore.
Sometimes you need to lose now to win later
An important factor to consider is that when the cost of labour exceeds the cost of automation, or there’s a perceived risk of dire consequences that outweighs the cost of automation, unemployment rises. Whilst these realities can be disregarded by trade unions and socialistic groupings, they are nonetheless a fact of life that will escape no economy. It's only when there is no bread on the table that we gain hindsight.
In South Africa, the lack of investment in intelligent business solutions and statutory protection of industry has impacted more people than has been conceded. Ironically, this has undoubtedly driven costs upwards making automation appealing. The worst of the automation on a national scale is probably behind us, but now offering employment comes at a risk. It has become prudent to consider all alternatives before embarking on recruitment. Therefore, the time has come to address the current socio-economic imbalance versus future gain. After all, in 2020 alone there has been a substantial increase in the use of technology, at a rate of adoption that could have taken another few years were it not for the coronavirus. This presents opportunities to embrace the future - that is closer than it once was. Focusing purely on what’s best for a company or industry can seem like choosing to profit over people. But if we don’t invest 100% in what does work today, eventually, the unemployed will become an overwhelming challenge that no responsible country can afford.
“Technology solutions like BuzzApex are brought to the market because it provides workable solutions that help the business community to streamline their operations and ensure that they have the controls in place to help each other and navigate the challenges ahead. This kind of technology will not only propel business success but future-proof companies, resulting in positive employment stats. This business-first approach must be replicated across the country because ultimately, it benefits all,“ concludes Radmore.