Automation will soon replace teachers

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Even if the self-driving car is no longer a utopia, we will not soon entrust ourselves to a bus that is on the move in dense city traffic without a driver. Letting a computer teach our children is not a perspective either.

Electronic learning is certainly effective, but children should also learn to find their way in social situations, which a robot can hardly do. Whether computers will ever develop so much creativity that they can take on artistic work like that of a conductor seems utopian, at least at the moment.

Machine produces better

On the other hand, there are numerous activities that a machine can do much better than a human. This is primarily about manufacturing. Economic aspects still play an important role when it comes to deciding whether to replace a worker with an expensive machine. Also, unskilled helpers are not necessarily most affected. Machines cannot tackle things quickly.

The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) examines which occupational activities can already be replaced by robots or computers. In fact, 15 percent of all employees subject to social security contributions work in professions in which more than 70 percent of the work content could be lost due to digitization. However, this is not synonymous with a job loss, but with the need for further training measures. More and more skilled workers will no longer produce, but the machines will have to maintain, set up and program.

Realistic picture of the job market

The topic is an example of research tasks with which the IAB analyzes the labor market. "Our research results help decision-makers to get a realistic picture of developments in the labor market," says Prof. Dr. Joachim Möller, Director of the IAB. "In addition to the Federal Employment Agency and its self-administration, the actors to be advised include, for example, parliament, the government, the ministries, but also associations, unions and employers' associations."

Even if the IAB is a special department of the Federal Employment Agency, it has full freedom of research and publication. So it can give independent and critical advice. This is also a matter of course for the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which takes on part of the financing of the facility because of the Hartz IV accompanying research.

In order to better understand the job market and develop problem solutions, researchers from various disciplines conduct research at the IAB, including economists, sociologists, psychologists and other social scientists.

In addition to forecasts on the development of the labor market, it also deals with questions of promoting further training, development of wages and international and regional comparisons on various issues.

Effect of the minimum wage

A topic that is widely discussed in public and business is the statutory minimum wage introduced a good year ago. At the time, many feared that it could lead to major job losses.

The IAB has observed the labor market and the development of wages and has analyzed the statistical data that the Federal Employment Agency regularly compiles. From this, researchers at the institute developed a labor market mirror. From this it can be read directly how entries and exits from employment and non-employment develop over time for different groups of employees.

The first results are available, even if their interpretation is not yet very easy, since the introduction of the minimum wage fell during a phase of job creation. In any case, the numbers do not suggest any major job losses. Whether more jobs would have been created without the minimum wage is still being investigated. The good economic situation made it easier for many companies to adjust wages to the new level.

Mini jobs are decreasing

The minimum wage had a clear impact on marginally employed people, as this group of people earned more than 50 percent less than the minimum wage. Year-on-year, the number of these employees decreased by 194,000 people.

However, this was not accompanied by a noticeable rise in unemployment. Often, marginal jobs were converted into jobs subject to social security contributions. In addition, schoolchildren, students or retirees who lose their mini-job do not appear in unemployment.

Initial estimates assume that the number of employees could have decreased by 50,000 whose wages were insufficient to support themselves and therefore received financial benefits to top up. Further analyzes show that the decline in the number of marginally employed persons in regions with lower wages - especially in eastern and northern Germany - was greater than in other regions.

With such results, those responsible in the federal government can make decisions about future legislation much more well-founded and also check whether an enacted law has achieved the intended effect.

The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg was founded in 1967. As a special service of the Federal Employment Agency, the IAB conducts independent research and scientific policy advice. The statutory mandate is laid down in Section 282 of the Third Book of the Social Code (SGB III) and Section 55 of the Second Book of the Social Code (SGB II). The IAB is financed by contributions from unemployment insurance and federal tax revenue, and third-party funds are also acquired for research projects.