Robots also affect pensions

24 May 2016


Digitalisation, the growing number of self-employed without personnel and, in the longer term, robots on the shop floor will have a major impact on the pensions of millions of people in the Netherlands.

That is what Folkert Pama, director of the online pension provider BeFrank, says. He believes that the far-reaching changes in the labour market call for swift and adequate intervention by the government. Otherwise the Dutch pension system might even be in danger of becoming untenable in due course.

Knowledge and service
“Owing to the elimination of many manufacturing jobs, the remaining jobs will be largely specialised,” comments Pama. “In the future, added value will reside in knowledge and service. This will come mainly from the self-employed without personnel who no longer work full-time but are engaged on a temporary basis. The problem is that our current pension system is not at all designed for one-and-a-half or two million self-employed without personnel.”

Robots replace people
The advent of robots on the shop floor will only strengthen the trend towards flexibilisation even further, he expects. Complex tasks performed by employees will be taken over by computers and machines. Self-scanning checkouts will replace cashiers, automatic voice recognition in telephones will reduce the number of telephone operators required, accounting and administrative records will be fully automated, robots will perform cleaning tasks and because of the smart algorithms used by Uber, there will soon no longer be any taxi dispatchers. “More robots means less physical work. That also means fewer people who are incapacitated for work and that, in turn, has an impact on disability pensions in the Netherlands. It is important for us to already consider and anticipate these far-reaching changes now.”

Flexible working life
It is a fact that computers and robots will take work out of people’s hands. As a result, for instance, many clerical jobs and account management jobs will be eliminated. “People need to prepare for a much more flexible working life, centred on skills such as communication, self-reliance, motivation to learn and resistance to stress,” says Pama.

These four tips can help you to prepare for that kind of flexible career:
1. Continually think about your own employability
2. Carry out a career scan every five years
3. Invest in training and additional specialised education
4. Position yourself online, for instance on LinkedIn

Experts expect that half of today’s jobs will no longer exist in twenty years’ time. Future-proof jobs include customer service executive, digital solutions manager, sustainability officer, big data analyst, social media manager, scrum master and web user experience manager.

Insight into your pension
BeFrank is already anticipating the flexibilisation and technical developments by offering smart solutions. “With us, you can make all arrangements online and with a few clicks of the mouse, you can see how much pension you have built up. You can also easily perform calculations yourself to see whether your post-retirement income will be sufficient for a pleasant lifestyle.” Many innovative parties are already using the tools provided by BeFrank.