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Factory robots could fill the skill gap instead of, as has been infamously predicted, taking human jobs, according to new data from Epicor Software Corporation.

.A survey of 2,500 business respondents across 14 countries by Epicor Software Corporation showed that a little over half (54 percent) say that robots are a good solution for repetitive or mundane work.

Epicor presented the findings as part of the Epicor Insights conference, held in Nashville, Tenn. this week. The conference brought Epicor users and media together to demonstrate the company’s enterprise resource planning and other software products.

Of those polled, a relatively small 34 percent said that robots were more efficient than humans in the workplace.

Robots could be utilized to do jobs that are boring or dangerous for humans, and also could efficiently serve in roles that companies are having trouble filling. The survey found that only 23 percent of businesses in the industrial sector are able to attract new workers with the knowledge base needed for work. One third of the people surveyed say AI, robots, and highly automated machinery are a common feature of their work. On the other side, 32 percent say these technologies are not involved with their day-to-day work at all. In terms of robots possibly replacing people, OECD has found that about one in ten jobs are at high risk from automation.

“The study shows us that the use of robots is a very real, but also very welcome way of solving an otherwise worrying industry-wide knowledge and skills gap,” said Terri Hiskey, vice president of product marketing at Epicor. “With employers struggling to find candidates with the right skills or knowledge for entry-level roles, and with employees struggling to keep up with the pressures of business growth, automating aspects of the workforce offers a new way of building efficiencies into the supply chain, and enabling digital transformation. However, businesses need the right infrastructure at their heart if they are to manage data flows effectively and to make the most of robotics and AI.”

The robotics market itself is moving more units in 2018 than previous years, according to the Robotics Industries Association. New orders decreased in the first quarter of 2018, but units shipped and shipment revenue increased to record highs.

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