Many organizations are still aligning their strategies to Industry 4.0, assuming it is the next big technological revolution. Key among these strategies include the progressive automation and robotization of work, embracing big data and artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Nonetheless, this focus on Industry 4.0 as the next big thing is ill-informed, as Industry 5.0 is already with us. Most people do not know what Industry 5.0 entails and be inadequately prepared to adopt the shifts that come with it. Here we will break down the nuances of this fifth technological revolution and determine its implications for employers and jobseekers.
What is Industry 5.0?
Understanding Industry 5.0 requires that we detail briefly how technological development has occurred since the first generation. Industry 1.0 was the first industrial revolution and happened in the eighteenth century. In this revolution, human beings shifted from handicraft production to machine production, impacting major industries such as mining, textile, and agriculture. The next shift occurred in the late 1800s until 1914 and is identified as Industry 2.0. This revolution led to accelerated economic growth and enhanced business productivity. However, it also increased unemployment drastically as machines replaced employees in factories.
Industry 3.0 began in the mid-20th century and is commonly identified as the digital revolution. This is because it mainly contributed to occupational digitalization with the development of computers, the internet, and cellular phones. Industry 3.0 was hugely vital in streamlining business procedures and operations. Industry 4.0 came as an amalgam of these developments by promoting the creation of the Internet of Things, automation, AI business functions, robotization, and machine learning. Accordingly, it is mainly characterized by increased data-driven operations and automation.
From this breakdown, it is evident that technological development has invariably yearned for efficiency. Industry 5.0 intends to enhance collaboration between machines developed in Industry 4.0 and humans. Granted, it will focus on the large-scale production of industrial and manufacturing robots. These robots will not come to replace human beings in their work; rather, they will be programmed to work with them and promote efficiency. Remarkably, Industry 5.0 will primarily aim at enhancing value creation than boosting productivity in businesses. It will also be human-centric.
Industry 5.0’s Implications for Employers
Industry 5.0 focus on value creation has significant effects on employers. One of the things employers need to know is that Industry 5.0 requires them to focus on their employees’ well-being and health. Previous technological revolutions mainly emphasized business productivity to increase profits.
Consequently, Industry 4.0 contributed to numerous applications and tech to increase employee productivity. These technologies were apathetic to employee welfare, contributing to high burnout, stress, and deteriorating mental well-being. Industry 5.0 shuns this fixation on productivity and requires employers to prioritize employee welfare to create value for their organizations. This includes promoting a good work-life balance, better remunerations, and reducing work hours. All these will be allowed by robotization and collaboration between human beings and robots brought by Industry 5.0. For instance, during peak seasons, employers often struggle to promote employee welfare and meet consumer demand concurrently. With robots working alongside humans, this will no longer be a problem as businesses can increase the speed at which they serve customers while ensuring that employee welfare is maintained.
Another change that Industry 5.0 will bring for employers is a greater focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Today, businesses are required to align their operations with climate change action, engage in humanitarian work, and try to create value for their immediate communities. For example, most businesses have engaged in humanitarian work to ease life after Covid. Industry 5.0 will bring these ethical requirements to the fore as it predisposes employers to create value in their work and shift to human-centric operations.
Industry 5.0 Implications for Jobseekers
Jobseekers will, of course, also be affected by Industry 5.0. As mentioned, it will mainly come to reposition them in the modern workplace by creating more collaboration with machines. However, even if the technology is designed to protect their jobs and ensure that their welfare is prioritized, there are things that jobseekers need to do to catch up with this revolution. First, jobseekers will need to upskill and reskill. Upskilling encompasses learning new skills, while reskilling involves learning new skills so that you can do a different job. Industry 5.0 will require tremendous knowledge in digital technology, and one of the areas that jobseekers can reskill and upskill is web3 jobs, fintech and other role-specific skills. There are also a plethora of non-IT web3 jobs that one can use to upskill and reskill. These jobs do not necessarily need a deeper understanding of IT or computer science.
Jobseekers will also need to familiarize themselves with technologies impacting their jobs and how they can use them to upgrade their careers. These skills are relevant in the age of Industry 5.0 as employers will now focus on the skills an individual possesses, not industry or career experience.
Secondly, jobseekers will need to enhance their people skills. Industry 5.0 is positioned to be human-centric. It will promote not only collaboration between human beings and machines but also human beings to human beings. Industry 5.0 will require organizations to eliminate bad leadership and focus on more transformational and servant-oriented leadership. On their part, jobseekers must enhance their communication skills to engage more appropriately with other employees and managers and air their ideas effectively. These communication skills may allow them to remain at par with Industry 5.0 developments and increase their chances of hiking up the corporate ladder.
Industry 5.0 can be seen as the digital technology transformation created to focus explicitly on 21st-century problems. It is founded on the truism that technological advancements should not create problems for us but should solve our existing challenges. Some of the problems we are grappling with today are sustainability issues, reduced human connection in the workplace, extreme objectification of human labor, and unrealistic fixation on profits and productivity. Industry 5.0 promises to shift the focus by compelling all businesses to implement sustainability solutions in their operations, allow machines and human beings to collaborate, protect workers’ welfare, and ensure that value creation comes first. Even though Industry 5.0 is yet to gain prominence, employers and jobseekers can begin preparing themselves for upcoming changes. This will enhance their adaptability when the revolution comes and may also improve their careers in the long term.