A recent study by the Asian Development Bank on the impacts of automation in Cambodia can be read in two ways. It found that by 2030 some 12 percent of Cambodia’s garment workers face displacement because of automation, in addition to about 3 percent of jobs in the tourism sector.
That’s not so bad: far worse projections were made in a 2016 report by the International Labor Organization, which asserted that 57 percent of all jobs in Cambodia are at risk from automation, second only to Vietnam (70 percent) of the five Southeast Asian states surveyed. And Cambodia had the most “wage-earners” at risk.
However, the optimist can also find something to clutch onto. According to the ADB report, although automation will cut employment in Cambodia’s garment manufacturing sector by 12 percent by 2030, afterwards it will boost job creation by 51 percent. Same for the tourism sector, with technology set to produce a 5 percent increase in jobs after 2030.