With the advances in technology, it seems safe to assume retail will look vastly different in the future. I recently read an article where technological changes are affecting the global retail landscape at an ever-increasing rate. JD.com, a Chinese online retailer, recently launched the first fully automated warehouse, requiring just four employees to manage the workload that previously took up to 400 employees to complete. Another mention was Echion, a German marketing firm, who have started testing facial recognition devices within 40 German supermarkets and 100 Deutsche Post branches. While customers wait in the checkout aisles, their faces are scanned to determine the age and sex of the person. A screen then airs a targeted, personalized advertisement.
This does beg the question of how these advances will affect the future workforce. According to the article, Mckinsey Global Institution and PwC estimated that 62 million jobs from Europe’s five biggest economies can be automated and found that by 2055 half of today’s work activities could be automated. However, with all the advances in technology there are still certain work activities that cannot be automated. McKinsey also found that 60% of all occupations have at least 30% technically automatable activities.
It will be interesting to see how these technological advancements will start filtering through to South Africa and how they may impact our current workforce in the next coming years.