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Analysis of the impact of robotic systems on employment in the European Union - 2012 data update. Update of Final Report

A study prepared for the European Commission DG Communications Networks, Content & Technology. Contract number: 30-CE-0749390/00-86. SMART number: SMART 2015/0082
: Jäger, Angela; Moll, Cornelius; Lerch, Christian

Fulltext (PDF; )

Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2016, VII, 85 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-79-58827-3
Report, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ISI ()

Industrial robots and robot applications are a key enabling technology to improve the competitiveness of the European manufacturing industry and the overall welfare of society. This study replicates novel empirical evidence that the positive stimulation provided by the further development and diffusion of industrial robot systems is a key enabler for exploiting the competitiveness and growth potentials of the European manufacturing industry. The main results and conclusions about the utilisation of industrial robot systems in manufacturing that were published in the study “Analysis of the impact of robotic systems on employment in the European Union” are confirmed with the latest available data. Based on extensive firm-level analyses of data from the European Manufacturing Survey 2012, it is shown that the use of industrial robots does not have any – neither negative nor positive – direct effect on firm-level employment. Hence, this study does not provide any evidence for the often referred to image of industrial robots as “job killers”. Instead, companies using industrial robots achieve significantly higher levels of productivity in their manufacturing processes. Likewise, firms with a higher vertical range of manufacturing, which can also be realised by using industrial robots, also show better productivity performance. The potential of utilising industrial robots to maintain the competitiveness of EU manufacturing is also reflected in the finding that the companies using industrial robots in manufacturing and production achieve higher labour productivity. The study concludes by identifying key aspects that should be taken into account when designing and implementing ongoing and future EU policies in the field of in-dustrial robots. These mainly concern the barrier of investment costs, especially for small and medium-sized firms (SMEs), and the specific challenges faced by SMEs when trying to exploit the benefits of industrial robots in manufacturing and assembly. This study provides an update of the 2015 study “Analysis of the impact of robotic systems on employment in the European Union” (ISBN: 978-92-79-48086-7).