South Korea has the highest proportion of robot workers
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South Korea has the highest proportion of robot workers

WORRIED about a robot taking your job? Don’t move to South Korea.

According to the 2017 World Robot Statistics released earlier this year by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the East Asian nation has by far the highest robot density in the global manufacturing industry.

Out of every 10,000 Korean employees in manufacturing there are 631 robots – an incredible eight times the international average. They are installed primarily in the electronics and automotive manufacturing industries, accounting for an important part of South Korea’s economy.

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Last year, Seoul became the first government worldwide to impose a so-called robot tax in order to cushion the nation’s workforce.

Singapore came in second worldwide with a rate of 488 robots per 10,000 employees. Some 90 percent of these robots are used in the electronics industry.

In fourth place is Japan with 303 were 10,000 employees, following Germany. The IFR calls Japan the “world’s predominant industrial robot manufacturer”.


Source: Statista

The country has famously adopted humanoid robots for a number of innovative uses including caring for the elderly and acting as priests to conduct funerals.

“Robot density is an excellent standard for comparison in order to take into account the differences in the automation degree of the manufacturing industry in various countries,” said Junji Tsuda, President of the IFR.

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“As a result of the high volume of robot installations in Asia in recent years, the region has the highest growth rate. Between 2010 and 2016, the average annual growth rate of robot density in Asia was 9 percent, in the Americas 7 percent and in Europe 5 percent.”

China has seen significant growth in the role of robots in its workforce from 25 units in 2013 to 68 units in 2016 – ranked 23 worldwide.

It is expected by 2020 China will become one of the most automated nations on earth, with a goal of selling 100,000 domestically produced industrial robots.