North of Portugal to lose 400,000 jobs until 2030

  • Bernardo da Mata
  • 26 June 2019

Impossible to deny is the fact that automation will certainly change the future of labour. What will be its real impact? The Portuguese Confederation of Enterprises (CIP) gives us a clue.

Impossible to deny is the fact that automation will certainly change the future of labour. What will be its real impact? Little is known, but the Portuguese Confederation of Enterprises (CIP) gives us a clue. In the north of Portugal, 421,000 jobs will be lost by 2030, especially in the manufacturing industry.

According to CIP’s report, revealed this Wednesday, the North of Portugal is presenting a negative balance regarding the automation of professional activities. On one end, CIP forecasts the loss of 421,000 jobs, but on the other hand, it predicts the creation of 227,000 new jobs in the region.

Doing all the maths, the net loss of jobs as a direct consequence of automation would stand at around 190,000. For António Saraiva, President of CIP, this number is not a prophecy. “The merit of this study is to raise awareness in the government, unions and enterprises for this most-likely scenario”, told ECO.

The textiles will be the most affected by the automation of work, representing half of the total job losses in the region. “Part of this problem is that the textile industry is still highly-specialised on manufacturing”, Saraiva adds. The pharmaceutical sector will be the least affected.

Low qualifications and the advanced age range of workers will be the biggest challenges in the process of requalification. But António Saraiva is optimistic about it: “I refuse to believe that we will face that problem as we live in very modern times and people adapted to computers. The complexity (of that shift) is lesser than before.”

A trilogy called requalification

To mitigate the elimination of jobs, António Saraiva advises on betting on the intensive requalification of human resources. According to CIP, just in the north of Portugal, “234,000 workers will need to be requalified (the equivalent to 14% of the workforce”. “Only by requalifying them is that we can avoid the worst-case scenario”, the President of CIP states.

As companies will be benefiting the most from it, they should take the lead. For António Saraiva, they have to accelerate their pace. “There is some work done, but it needs to be faster. Change is fast and we need to follow it.”

CIP also remembers that this is not just a concern for the companies. The requalification of resources “should be understood as a shared national purpose where the State must be involved in”. “The country will benefit from having better-qualified workers. We cannot just leave that to the companies to do it alone”, argues.

According to the CIP report, educators are the last element of this requalification trilogy. On one hand, the government needs “mobilising and preparing the so-called elements of change” as well as the employers need planning strategies for their workforce by implementing those initiatives of requalification”. On the other hand, educators have the mission of “adopting new methodologies and focusing on skills-training”.