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科技或将取代他们的工作?零售业员工这么看

Jonathan Vanian 2019年03月12日

调查显示,三分之二的零售业员工认为技术终将取代自己的部分工作职责。

三分之二的零售业员工认为技术终将取代自己的部分工作职责,这说明人们越来越担心自动化和先进技术会对职场产生不利影响。

这是“公平工作周倡议”(The Fair Workweek Initiative)发布的一项新调查结果,该项目由非营利性劳动监督组织公众民主中心(The Center for Popular Democracy)和联合尊重组织(Organization United for Respect)共同发起。

上述报告主要研究美国零售业员工如何看待日常工作中越来越多使用技术的现状。简而言之,他们认为这个问题值得担心,但同时也是一个潜在的机会。

世界经济论坛(World Economic Forum)及其他组织已经预测,机器学习等技术创新将显著改变劳动力市场,可能会在创造新工作岗位的同时造成大范围失业。零售业尤其可能产生重大变革,在线零售巨头亚马逊(Amazon)正在领导变革,他们已经增加了新技术的开支来降低成本。

零售业已经使用的先进技术包括:自助结账台、商店中供顾客查询信息的电脑显示器、早期在有限范围内引入机器人搬运箱子或处理类似工作,这些都只是其中的一部分。有些技术已经在改变零售业员工的工作方式。

公平工作周倡议的主管凯莉·格利森表示,上述调查显示零售业员工总体“对技术持乐观态度”。例如,62%的受访者认同新技术会创造新就业机会的说法。

格里森举了个例子,比如亚马逊可以将旗下的全食超市(Whole Foods)作为配送中心。这样就可以创造一种全新的岗位——为亚马逊物流部门工作的门店店员,他们可以对客户订单进行货物和包裹分拣。

此外,格里森表示,随着顺风车服务供应商Lyft等应用程序的兴起,人们有望再打一份工,如果他们的主职工作报酬不够,可以用这种方式补贴收入。

尽管如此,仍有66%的受访者认为技术最终会取代自己的一些岗位职责。此外,57%的受访者表示新技术会对其工作质量产生负面影响,例如降低工资、工时、福利等。

该调查共收到来自于汽车、电子商务、杂货和服装等各行各业大公司1100名零售员工的回复。上述受访对象可以说代表了全国零售业的劳动力大军。

虽然技术可以把员工从他们不喜欢的一些日常任务中解放出来,但最终也可能“以一种没有人想得到的方式压榨工人”,格里森说。

例如,自助结账台取代了一些收银员的岗位。然而,公司仍必须指定专人看管机器来帮助有问题的顾客、解决机器故障、防止顾客逃单。

南卡罗来纳州北查尔斯顿的沃尔玛(Walmart)员工阿什利·华盛顿表示,她的工作是管理多个自助结账台,这些结账台往往位于商店的不同区域,因此工作反而更难而不是更简单。她希望商店能够雇用更多的人来帮她看管机器,这样“工作才不会那么紧张,不那么让人沮丧。”

华盛顿表示,她的工作最终可能会被技术取代,但她也说,某些岗位仍然需要人工。“你仍然需要人来管理机器,因为机器总会出问题。”她说。

尽管科技对零售业产生了影响,但63%的受访者认为自己现在的零售工作有生之年不会完全被科技取代。研究结果表明,人们相信仍然有一些任务人工比机器更高效。

不过,格里森表示,调查“发现了一些矛盾之处。”

例如,78%的女性受访者表示科技不会取代她们的工作,相较而言,男性受访者的比例为50%。但根据该报告,现实情况是,零售业中最可能失业的就是女性,主要原因是73%的收银员是女性,“收银员被认为是最容易实现自动化的岗位之一”。

格里森说,这可能是因为有些女性认为商店需要人工收银员提供“高质量的客户服务”,客户服务与情绪劳动关系密切,而社会普遍认为情绪劳动应该由女性承担。

但是,并非所有女性都相信自己的工作将免于被技术取代的命运。佛罗里达州杰克逊维尔的沃尔玛员工德莉玛·洛维特的工作是对在线订单进行分拣,交给到店取货的顾客,她认为技术将“不可避免地”取代某些工作。她说,自助结账台越来越多,还说商店可能会使用机器人巡场甚至承担清洁工作。

如果让她把职业生涯从头来过,洛维特说她“会去上学,做个技术人员”。

“这是未来工作岗位的发展方向。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Two out of three retail workers believe that technology will eventually replace some of their job responsibilities, underscoring the rising concern about the impact of automation and cutting-edge technology on the workplace.

That’s according to a new survey by The Fair Workweek Initiative, a project spawned from the non-profit labor-monitoring groups The Center for Popular Democracy and Organization United for Respect.

The report is intended to reveal how U.S. retail employees perceive the growing use of technology in their daily work-lives. In short, they see it as both a concern and potential opportunity.

Organizations like the World Economic Forum have forecast that innovations like machine learning will significantly alter the labor market, potentially leading to major job losses while creating new kinds of work. The retail sector is particularly prone to major disruption, led by online giant Amazon as it increases spending on new technology in an effort to cut costs.

Self-checkout kiosks, computer screens in stores that shoppers can use to look up information, and the early and limited adoption of robots to handle tasks like moving boxes are just some of what’s being adopted in retail. And some of those technologies are already changing how retail employees work.

Overall, the survey shows that retail workers are “optimistic about technology,” said Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative. For instance, 62% of the respondents agreed with that notion that new technologies would create new job opportunities.

As an example, Gleason pointed to Amazon potentially using its Whole Foods grocery stores as distribution centers. The practice can create a new kind of job—store clerks who can work for Amazon’s logistics division or who can pick groceries and bag orders that are then delivered to customers.

Additionally, Gleason says that the rise of apps like for ride-sharing service Lyft has made people more hopeful about being able to take on second jobs to supplement their income if their primary jobs don’t pay enough.

Still, 66% of the respondents believe that technology may eventually replace some of their job duties. Meanwhile, 57% said that new technology would have a negative impact on the quality of their jobs such as reducing their wages, hours, and benefits.

The survey is based on responses from 1,100 retail workers at major companies in industries as diverse as automotive, e-commerce, grocery, and clothing. The pool is described as representative of the country’s retail workforce as a whole.

Although technology may eliminate some mundane tasks that employees don’t like, it could also end up “squeezing workers in ways that nobody thought about,” Gleason said.

Self-checkout kiosks, for instance, have replaced some cashiers. However, companies must still assign human workers to the machines to help confused shoppers, troubleshoot glitches, and guard against shoppers walking out the door without paying.

Walmart worker Ashley Washington, of North Charleston, SC, said her job of overseeing multiple self-checkout stands—often placed at different areas in the stores—has made her working life more difficult rather than easier. She wishes that the store would hire more people to help her oversee the self-check machines so that “it won’t be so stressful and frustrating.”

Washington said technology may eventually take over her job, but she added that human workers would still be needed in some capacity. “You still need people to oversee the machines because something can always go wrong,” she said.

Despite tech’s impact on retail, 63% of respondents say that their current retail job won’t be fully replaced by technology during their lifetimes. The findings shows that people believe there are still tasks that humans can do more efficiently than machines.

Still, Gleason said the survey “found some contradictions.”

For instance, 78% of female respondents say tech won’t replace their jobs, compared to 50% of male respondents. But the reality, according to the report, is that women face the greatest potential for job loss in retail, primarily because 73% of cashiers are women and “cashiers are considered one of the easiest jobs to automate.”

Gleason said this could be because some women feel that stores need human cashiers for “high-quality customer service” and its relationship to emotional labor, which society often places on women.

But, not all women believe their jobs will be safe from technology. For Dreama Lovett, a Walmart employee in Jacksonville, Fla. who assembles and delivers online orders to customers visiting her Walmart store, “it’s inevitable” that tech will replace some jobs. She pointed to the rise of self-checkout kiosks and the possibility that stores would introduce robots to patrol aisles and potentially clean spills.

If she were to start her career over again, Lovett said that she “would go to school to be a technology person.”

“That’s where the jobs are going to be.”

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