1.0 Terms of Reference:
This report focuses on the impact of ICT in several different areas of work. Students in the AVCE ICT- Yr 2 group were assigned to a specific topic in which they had to research, review the findings and finally produce a report. This report is the brief synopsis of six reports produced by each of the groups in the class.
All information has been gathered from either the Internet, websites or word-of-mouth. The topics and the groups who researched them are as follows:
2.1- Job losses and gains
2.2- Home working and de-skilling
2.3- Working Patterns in our local community
2.4- National and International economies
2.5- Improving work opportunities for women and the disabled
2.6- Increased leisure time
3.1- Job gains and losses: ICT has opened up a countless number of jobs for the society also changing the nature of jobs along the way by a great deal. ICT has changed the working environment with more technology placed inside the office environment or any other working environment. Virtually everything with a microchip is associated with ICT, for example, a working environment such as an office is full of ICT from PC’s used by employees to telephone, fax machines and web cams. IT is very difficult to imagine life without ICT, as we know it would cease to exist. Jobs are now done more quickly and efficiently than before. Many jobs have been created by ICT Foe example; Web Designer, Software & Hardware Engineer, Robot Maintenance and Systems Analyst.
Since ICT has been introduced in technology, computers have made a huge impact and difference to our lives especially in the employment sector. Some people believe that ICT is a job creator where computers are used to make work a lot easier for workers. Overall this is the main reason why people believe ICT has been a huge success. Others believe ICT has destroyed their jobs due to a lack of computer skills. ICT has changed dramatically and this means that workers feel threatened because their jobs are at risk. Workers believe that their skills are not upgraded enough to use computers.
3.2- Home working and Deskilling: Home working gives you the financial freedom you require. You can do your office work in the comfort of your home and still earn extra income or achieve financial freedom. You can be anywhere in the world and still work online. Home working gives you a chance to be your own boss. You can work when you want, for as long as you want and without any set rules, e.g. Dress Code or specific break times. Many people would agree that working from home gives them a happy family environment in which they can see their partner and children as often as they want. There is no need to drive a long way away from home to get to work and you can enjoy the extra time you have with your family.
Deskilling is when the skills of many skilled people or workers are no longer required as tasks can be carried out using technology (e.g. computerized machines). The workers are therefore only needed to operate the computers. These workers will not be required to be highly skilled as the computers will carry out all necessary tasks for them. As the technological changes develop further, it would also mean the unemployment level will start to rise (as predicted). The impact of ICT on de-skilling also means that several skilled workers will do less boring work, have more flexible hours, and be able to work from home is they wish to. De-skilling in ICT renders traditional skills redundant and therefore tends to de-skill the work force. Skilled workers with better knowledge of the use of ICT have better careers and work opportunities, leaving the rest of the workforce in dead-end and low-paying jobs. Computers have de-skilled workers and degraded their quality of working life.
3.3- Working Patterns in our Local Community: The Internet has had a major impact on employment not least because communications have improved vastly. Information can be transferred from one person to another. Responses are fast – no time delay due to postage any more – deals can be done faster. Some people can expect to access their work anytime and anywhere, which allows for the employee to be more flexible in their approach to the job. Workers can now work at home instead of commuting to the office. This will automatically lead to potential lifestyle changes – move out of the city; maybe you don’t even need a car anymore. Working patterns have also changed because of the introduction of computers and specifically the Internet. The 24 hour/ 365 days a year Internet access and potential link to the office- we can now do the work as and when it suits us. This of course only applies to a certain percentage of the workforce. But everyday jobs such as working in a shop or driving a bus have been affected by the introduction of ICT – use of bar-code scanners has sped up stocktaking; ticket selling/ cashing up on public transport is partially automated.
3.4- National & International Economies: There are three major economic and welfare gains, which clearly result from ICT. The first are gains from participating in the growing world demand for ICT products (both hardware & software) and services. The global market for software is now estimated at US $500 billion. Newly industrialized economies (NIEs) and other East Asian economies, especially China, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines were able to capture a significant share of the world market for digital computers, semi-conductors, electronic microcircuits, and other automatic data processing (ADP) products. The second are gains in economic efficiency and productivity from greater use of ICT capital in other sectors of the economy. While the highly debated nature of the impact of ICT in industrial countries may not immediately apply in the world’s lower-income countries, the persuasiveness of is effects may eventually have a major impact on poorer economies. And the third gain are the possibilities that networking opens up for alleviating poverty and improving the quality of life through higher incomes and the use of the marketable capacities of the poor.
3.5- Improving Work Opportunities for the Disabled and Women: Opportunities for disables plays a vital role in creating and enhancing work opportunities for women and disabled. As the disabled people are unable to do much physical work and therefore find it hard to get a job because it is difficult for them to travel. With the facility of a computer hey are able to work from home and can use their hands to perform tasks such as Word Processing, Data Entry etc. ICT equipment is designed in a way that disabled people can feel comfortable with it. Disabled people all over the word have benefited from ICT as many firms now employee people who are capable people who are capable of working from home. It also enables disabled people to get the necessary skills and training in order to obtain a job by offering several training packages.
ICT has developed various jobs for Women because it does not require much physical work and therefore it has enabled women to do the job as effectively as men. One major problem for women seeking employment is that they might have children /family whom they loo after so this limits the hours they could work. Therefore ICT allows them to work from home. Across the world this is the same attitude towards women working. This would have been a completely different matter before ICT was fully introduced as Women would only have to work if the men were taken away to fight in the war. Otherwise, the only jobs the women were supposedly good at was staying at home and doing all the dutiful chores of a good woman.
3.6- Increased Leisure time: the present state of the leisure industry can be described as an experience that you couldn’t use 10 years ago. ICT has provided more availability of leisure time and opportunities than there were before. The main areas that promote leisure time are:
– Personal Computers
– Game Stations
Looking at all aspects of ICT and its impact on various sectors, it can be noticed that although ICT has had a negative effect on people and the environment, it has also created excellent job opportunities which require learning and applying new skills. Learning new skills is important to try and attempt to use any kind of latest ICT software, as it seems to surround us immensely. Therefore you could say it has offered more advantages than disadvantages. ICT has become a vital part to the people of today’s society, as many businesses could not operate without the use of any kind of ICT.
ICT has also benefited from National and International economies. New technology is being introduced everyday and there are now cheaper ways to use eastern economies to get the work done. Many of the British companies have already transferred their businesses overseas e.g. Call centres have been handed over to India, as it is cheaper. However, many might disagree that this has been a good change because of the recurring mistakes.