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Workers feel digital pinch
November 14th, 2017 | 10:03 AM | 2203 views
Indonesia may not yet have an unmanned establishment like Jack Ma’s Tao Café in Hangzhou, China, or driverless buses like those in France and Switzerland, but the impact of digitalization on employment in the country is becoming increasingly obvious. The Jakarta Post journalist Stefani Ribka examines how the digital revolution will continue robbing people of jobs but considerably improve business efficiency at the same time.
Nengsi Atmaja, the owner of photo shop Simpati Foto at Palmerah Market in Jakarta, vividly remembers she had seven competitors in the area back in 1977. Today, only two remain with, of course, far fewer attendants. In the heyday of the 1990s, Simpati employed 10 people. Now only four remain.
“People nowadays don’t print as many photos as they used to,” she says. “Everyone can see images instantly on their smartphones and if they want, they can print them with their own printers. Unlike analog photo technology, digital printing requires only a few people.”
The state of employment at the photo studio is just a minute example of how digitalization has adversely impacted employment. Massive job losses have been seen the telecommunication, tourism and hospitality, banking, media, toll road, manufacturing, construction, services and art sectors.
While no exact figure exists on the number of jobs that have been lost as a result of automation and mechanization, latest Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data shows that working hours in the formal sector are decreasing and the number of informal jobs increasing.
The working hour index stood at 101.4 as of June, a drop from 104.95 in the same period last year and the lowest second quarter index since 2012. In the index, 100 indicates working hours of eight hours per day; the lower the index, the fewer the working hours.
Sectors with a major drop in working hours include manufacturing, retail and automotive repairs, information and communication and service firms.
In line with that, the number of informal workers increased by 2.74 million people to 72.67 million as of February from that during the same month in 2015. Informal jobs are those that are unmonitored and untaxed by the government.
courtesy of THE JAKARTA POST
by Stefani Ribka
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