The banking industry is changing. It is currently undergoing one of its biggest shifts. The future is all about technology. Your bank’s mobile app is
slowly but gradually replacing your visit to your local branch. And as more people become comfortable with banking on their computers and smartphones, there will be less and less need for physical branches. This will mean the loss of of jobs. In fact this may already be starting to happen in some parts of the country.
This increased banking convenience for us is coming at the expense of bank jobs. And banks certainly don’t have a problem with having less staff, it will just mean more profits for them and their shareholders. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in capitalism and shareholder equity, but I also believe stakeholder (works, consumers, vendors etc.) come first and until these are taken care of, shareholder equity won’t matter much for the economy as a whole. Therefore, I believe it is more important than ever before, to visit your local branch and use the services of a teller. Even if it is something as simple as withdrawing money which you could do at the ATM machine. Unless you see a long line-up, always try to go inside to do your banking. Those few minutes you spend inside ensure that you are helping someone keep their job. Multiply that by millions around the country doing the same thing and the result is tens of thousands of bank employees keeping their jobs. And when these can keep their jobs, imagine the trickle-down effect that can have for the economy.
Banks are not alone at this. We are increasingly seeing more and more self checkout counters at grocery and big box stores. They are there for our convenience, but if used a lot, it means job losses for employees at thousands of big box stores and grocery stores nationwide. Similar to your visit to the bank, and unless there is a long line up at the other check-out lines, skip them as much as you can. Ensure someone or a lot of people are able to keep their jobs. And it is only costing you a few minutes if not less. Heck, lately, I have been seeing more people at the self check-out counter than at ones attended by a real human cashier!
Restaurants have joined this trend too and introduced self-ordering and paying systems, where you can order and even pay through an automated system, and skip straight to pick your meal. Don’t bother! Skip the new automated ordering screen at McDonald’s and go to the counter instead. Help a student, a mom, or someone else keep their job. And by the way, even if you choose to the cashier, I don’t know if you are saving any time by ordering yourself. I mean the cashier knows the menu and the ordering system better and would probably be faster at taking your order than you can do it yourself.
The irony is, we may have inadvertently used these new technologies and skipped the human interaction for the sake of convenience and saving time, and in the process have cost us or someone we know their job. And if it hasn’t yet, it may happen in the future, where there is less demand for humans and more love for machines. In a previous post, we had discussed the ‘Amazon effect‘ and how it is killing jobs locally. Coming up in a future article, we will expand on that further and how buying online is also killing jobs. we all want to save money and time, who doesn’t? problem is, we are falling for it so much that we are overlooking the big picture, where we are losing thousands and thousands of jobs every month due to some form of automation. When these jobs are lost, we are losing much needed tax revenue, spending money and more, than can keep the economic cycle and prosperity going.
Be wary of automation at your local bank, grocery stores and other big box stores. Use them only sparingly and always look for real humans to check out. It will only mean less jobs lost in the future. And when when more people are working, it can only be good for the economy.