Executive Briefings

Opinion: Threat of Automation-Linked Job Losses Is Fake News

When did fake news become a thing? And how did the retail industry find itself in the middle of it? This month, we've been subjected to "The Retail Apocalypse," news that Sears' problems were all the fault of the media and this week, to quote John Oliver, "Now this."

Go into Google or the search engine of your choice, and type "retail automation" and click on "News." There you will find several pages of articles declaring things like "Retail Automation Threatens 6M-Plus Jobs," or my particular favorite (since it also refers to the retail apocalypse), "A Jobs Threat Worse Than Mass Store Closures Could Fire More than 7 Million Retail Workers."

That’s a lot of stories and some catchy headlines. It’s also complete nonsense.

After I received my fourth press call on the subject, I figured I should get back to the source and see where the clickbait was coming from. I found it. It’s a study commissioned by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and written by Cornerstone Capital Group.

I trudged my way through 45 of the 56-page “study,” so you, my friendly reader, don’t have to. I’m not going to mince words here. It looks impressive with lots of words, charts and quadrants. It’s also an awful and self-contradictory piece of work.

Here’s the overarching assumption in a nutshell:

Retailers are going to invest so heavily in automation that all salespeople and cashiers are going to become obsolete.

Read Full Article

Go into Google or the search engine of your choice, and type "retail automation" and click on "News." There you will find several pages of articles declaring things like "Retail Automation Threatens 6M-Plus Jobs," or my particular favorite (since it also refers to the retail apocalypse), "A Jobs Threat Worse Than Mass Store Closures Could Fire More than 7 Million Retail Workers."

That’s a lot of stories and some catchy headlines. It’s also complete nonsense.

After I received my fourth press call on the subject, I figured I should get back to the source and see where the clickbait was coming from. I found it. It’s a study commissioned by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and written by Cornerstone Capital Group.

I trudged my way through 45 of the 56-page “study,” so you, my friendly reader, don’t have to. I’m not going to mince words here. It looks impressive with lots of words, charts and quadrants. It’s also an awful and self-contradictory piece of work.

Here’s the overarching assumption in a nutshell:

Retailers are going to invest so heavily in automation that all salespeople and cashiers are going to become obsolete.

Read Full Article