This paper aims to evaluate the impact of automation on job displacement and reshoring in the apparel industry. It also compares with predictions on the same subject matter by the existing literature and, thus, provides future research agenda for further studies.
Primary data were collected through 27 semi-structured in-depth interviews. The grounded theory was used for thematic and network analyzes, which traced the drivers and barriers, as well as the impact of automation and reshoring.
Initially, automation decreases human interactions in any specific production section. However, it increases productivity, quality and cost advantages, which invoke growth and further employment in clothing firms. The employment of unskilled workers decreases in the long run when automation is well adopted in the system. Automation does not stimulate reshoring but may support relocation initiatives of production sites around the centers of global value chains (GVCs). This GVC-based relocation may create job displacement in apparel manufacturing nations in Asia while bringing employment opportunities to Sub-Saharan African countries, Europe and North America.
Little empirical research has been conducted on the impact of automation on the apparel industry. This study predicts that human interventions will dominate the sewing of fashionable and sophisticated apparel products while automation may replace many human workers for basic garment items in the foreseeable future.
Hoque, M.A., Rasiah, R., Furuoka, F. and Kumar, S. (2022), "Linkages among automation, job displacement and reshoring: evidence from the Bangladeshi apparel industry", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 515-531. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-04-2021-0044
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