Jobs disappearing in the public sector

Minister of Local Government and Modernisation Jan Tore Sanner ( Conservative Party ) freedom of speechMinister of Local Government and Modernisation Jan Tore Sanner ( Conservative Party ). Photo Norway Today Media

Even if one has dealt with procedural the last 20 years does not mean that you should do the same for the next 20.

– There is nothing new in jobs disappearing. Over the years, machines have taken over ever more tasks that were previously done manually. What is new is that the changes we are seeing goes so much faster than before and affects all sectors, says Minister of the Interior  and Modernization, Jan Tore Sanner (Conservatives) to DN.

Sanner call himself a technology optimist and is confident that Norway will manage the restructuring well, but stresses that it does not happen by itself.

– Digitization happens with or without us, even in the public sector. Unfortunately, many-are negative towards it – they just think that jobs disappear when robots simplify and streamline. But its not that one-sided, says Sanner.

 In Need of 50,000 new employees

Demographic challenges causes the public sector will need 50,000 new employees in schools, kindergartens, nursing and heath care. This is needed if the aim is to maintain the current level of services, the Minister explains.

– By digitizing standardized services such as housing allowances, start-up loans and building applications, resources can be freed and be transferred to other areas where the need is greater. The challenges we face require adaptability, both for employers and employees – and also from us politicians. We must understand how we exploit the new technology in the best way possible, says Jan Tore Sanner.

– Experts have predicted an avalanche of jobs lost due to digitization and robotics. What do you say about that?

– I do not believe in any avalanche. But jobs will disappear and new tasks we even can not imagine today will arise. Even if one has dealt with procedural work for the last 20 years does not mean that one should do the same for the next 20. More and more workers must be open to taking on new responsibilities, says Sanner.

 Robots are taking over construction applications

– We need to operate more efficiently, reduce costs and work in other ways – and we must become more adaptive. Jobs will change and new tasks will be created, perhaps in other areas than today, says Sanner.

The Government aims to simplify the procedures in the public sector, including that two municipalities have started a pilot project in which robots tend to building applications, as previously reported by Norway Today.

As DN earlier has discussed, it is estimated that nearly 80 percent of all construction applications can be processed by the robotic system.

– This is a positive development that helps to free up resources for other tasks. Today, for example, major zoning plans are not processed because one does not have the capacity to review them, says Sanner.

– Instead of thinking about what tasks are disappearing, one can imagine that the gains from automation can be taken out in higher quality – including in elderly care. By freeing up resources in one area, you can invest more in another area.

This need to succeed

Sanner identifies three crucial factors that need to succeed:

– Firstly, the overall educational system must be arraigned so that everyone participates and no-one drop out, competence becomes ever more important. We must also ensure better training and higher education, so that we lift us up technologically.

– Secondly, we must succeed with adaptable businesses. This applies both to the locomotives and smaller companies. It must also be developed a better entrepreneurial culture. Norway is not as good at start-up environments. To succeed in the future start-up communities in larger cities must rise up and become competitive.

– Thirdly, managers in the private and public sectors must understand the changes occurring. They do not need to be technical experts, but they must be able to see how technology affects their business and industry and exploit this in the best possible way.

Everyone must get a grasp on the technology that will challenge the future labour market, even in the public sector, says Jan Tore Sanner.

 

Source: dn.no / Norway Today

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