The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica: a threat or an opportunity?
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The way employees function in the workplace will change due to a movement towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica.
The environment in which society currently finds itself is characterized by an accelerated process of technological innovation. This will alter how we live, work, and relate to others. Individuals and country’s that do not adapt to these changes will be left behind. Will the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica be a threat or an opportunity?
The term the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” was coined by the German economist Klaus Schwab in 2016. It is distinguished from previous ones by its fusion of technologies and their interaction with the physical, digital, and biological domains.
Against this background of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica, the country can emerge as the leading nation in the region regarding its use of technology. This development can be seen as a mechanism to promote growth and reduce the country’s unemployment rate.
That being said, the International Labor Organization attests that the automation that will take place during the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica is unlikely to destroy entire occupations. However, the organization anticipates that future technological advances will change the type and number of tasks being performed in most jobs. This means that if citizens possess the skills that businesses will demand in future employment, the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica should be perceived as an opportunity and not as a danger.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica requires a coordinated response
It is worth asking who should facilitate citizens’ acquisition of these skills. Three principal parties should be involved. They are:
1) The State should actively promote a favorable environment for attracting investment and future skills. This is especially important for the population with fewer resources. If this segment of society is not prepared, it will only be those with more that will benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica. As a result, existing inequalities within the country would be perpetuated and exacerbated.
2) Private companies will benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica only if they upgrade the skill sets of their workers.
3) The individual must find ways to train and acquire these skills as a tool to achieve well-being for themselves and their families.
An example of the importance of the State’s participation in this transition is embodied by the “New Skills Agenda for Europe” initiative, which consists of a strategy developed by the European Commission in 2016 to prepare the region for the changes caused by the dawning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Among other topics contemplated in the European document, the following points could be highlighted (which also apply to the case of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica):
1) Make education and vocational training the first option, strengthen technical education, and promote teaching the “careers of the future.”
2) Reinforce basic skills; not too many years ago, it was enough to know how to read and write to get a job. However, over the years, this has become no longer enough. For example, companies required mastery of the English language. Therefore, it is essential to acquire technological skills to complement the previously mentioned basic ones.
3) Promulgate the necessary information for students to determine which careers to study and which ones to forego.
Costa Rica has formulated its own strategy
Just as the European region did, Costa Rica also drew up a plan in 2018 called “Digital Transformation Strategy towards Costa Rica’s Bicentennial 4.0.” This document aims to guide the country’s citizenry to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution and future knowledge-based economies.
The strategy that is outlined in the plan is based on six fundamental pillars on which an “innovative society” is based. These include the following:
1) Strengthening of the institutional framework of the national innovation ecosystem.
2) Strengthening of the digital skills and abilities of Costa Rican society.
3) Developing skills for the jobs and companies of the future.
Particular emphasis is placed on the final pillar because it is the one that promotes an improvement in the quality of human capital. Companies seeking to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica will find that this is a factor that measurably differentiates the country from its neighbors within the region.
In conclusion, acquiring new technological tools that characterize the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica is necessary for the economic success of new generations and individuals already participating in the country’s well-educated labor market. In the development of this process, the role of the State is fundamental. However, private employers and individuals will also have to be proactive in using new technologies and facilitating the acquisition of new skill sets.
Finally, it should be emphasized that policymakers must closely follow the Digital Transformation Strategy and ensure its execution so that individuals and the national economy benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Costa Rica.
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