ABB survey finds reindustrialization threatened by global automation ‘education deficit’

ABB’s global survey has revealed a growing trend of US and European companies towards re-shoring or nearshoring operations to build resilience in the face of global challenges – but at the same time, a significant education gap in the necessary skills to the success of these strategies.

“The world is constantly changing – companies are modifying existing structures and adopting new technologies to future-proof their operations in the face of a variety of challenges and uncertainties, with robotic automation playing a key role,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation division. Company. “We need significant investments in continuing education to prepare our current and future workforce to thrive in the age of robotics and automation, which is important not only to prepare for widespread change that we see, but also to create successful societies in the future.”

ABB’s 2022 survey of US and European business leaders found that 74% of European companies and 70% of US companies plan to relocate or move closer to their operations to build their supply chain resilience in response labor shortages, the need for a more sustainable global footprint and global uncertainty.

The majority of these companies see automation as the catalyst for these changes, with 75% of European companies and 62% of US companies surveyed planning to invest in robotics and automation over the next three years to facilitate this change in the operations.

Despite this appetite for automation, ABB’s 2022 Global Education Survey revealed a significant gap in the education and training needed to ensure the skills needed to work in increasingly connected workplaces. and automation of the future. Among global education professionals surveyed, 80% believe robotics and automation will shape the future of employment over the next ten years, while only one in four education institutions currently use robots as part of its educational programs.

To help close the skills gap, ABB has bolstered its global robotics and automation training program with new training centers, including its €100 million global innovation and training campus in Austria. The new site, along with other new regional training centers in the UK, Berlin and Brazil, extends ABB’s training facilities to more than 40 locations worldwide, training more than 30,000 students each year schools, colleges and universities, as well as apprentices and workers.

The sites add to ABB’s existing educational offering, which consists of software packages, including ABB’s Programming Wizard Easy, RobotStudio® and RobotStudio® AR Viewer App, as well as hardware in the form of robot cells collaborations and application software packages. Through more than 100 global partnerships with schools and universities, ABB generates educational materials with training providers to help educate future generations and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.

“Change has to happen now,” Atiya added. “As companies turn to robotic automation to offset labor shortages, improve efficiency and increase resilience, workers need the skills to use automation to perform their jobs and increase their own roles. Businesses must join forces, cooperating with educational institutions and governments to ensure that society is prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. Only then can we fully utilize the flexible automation and unlock the value of ongoing reindustrialization.”

ABB’s survey highlights the critical need to promote the education of robotics and automation skills. For more information, including ABB’s education offering, examples of educational projects involving ABB and its robots and software, and a white paper on how education automation can help shape the workforce of tomorrow, visit the ABB Education portal page.

*ABB Supply Chain Survey 2022
This release combines findings from ABB’s Supply Chain and Education Survey, both conducted in 2022.