You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
Advances in technology and automation have reduced the need for manual labour. Therefore working hours should be reduced.
To what extent do you agree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
In many production-oriented factories, machinery has evolved to such a degree that the demand for physical labour has considerably reduced, leading to the suggestion of a reduced working week. However, there are several factors that need to be considered.
Primarily, the long-term impact of shorter working weeks needs to be considered. Although less time at work may sound appealing, the reality is that people may find that they have too much free time. Fewer working hours would presumably mean less income, so a situation arises where employees have more leisure time than their income can support. This has the potential to result in feelings of boredom, frustration or anxiety, all of which have possible side-effects for society as a whole.
Connected with this comes the social factor of self-esteem. Being made redundant can have a negative impact on many people, especially if the position is replaced with a robot. To illustrate, a staff member employed for cleaning purposes who is then replaced by an automatic cleaning system is unlikely to feel positive about their own sense of worth.
A solution that would benefit all those concerned would be to utilize the time no longer required for manual labour for something more productive. Instead of simply reducing the working week, a combination of industry and government support could allow for employees to receive further education and training, such as management skills or personal development courses. Even automated factories still require technicians, mechanics and designers to maintain and improve production.
To summarise, until such time as automation has reduced the working week for all types of employee, it would perhaps be counter-productive to reduce the working week of those involved in manual labour without providing an alternative simply because they are replaceable.