Free «The Extent to Which Technology Is Replacing Skilled Labour with McJobs» Essay Sample


The labour market’s structure is constantly altering due to the technology rise. Technology is detected and utilized in all organizations: in big and small enterprises, educational institutions, multinational companies, and even the local corner shops. From the beginning of the industrial revolution, the technology has been utilized to increase the productiveness of employees. Nowadays, it is more and more the origin of new productions, services, operations and ways of working that could be hardly imagined thirty years ago. The speed of transformations is growing, and the influences of technology are being experienced more and more at the heart of the production companies. Technology is connected with extensive transformations in different parts of the private service sector and government agencies. Technical innovation is affecting the way in which workers interact with each other and, often, with customers of the business, too (Mullins 2013). Nowadays, one of the most considerable issues is that technology replaces skilled jobs in the process of McDonaldization. As a result, skilled workers are unemployed, and the quantity of non-skilled jobs is growing. Therefore, this paper explores how technology is replacing skilled labour with McJobs and to which extent to bring attention to this issue and make people see the significant problem of rationalization in society.

The McDonaldization

A massive process of rationalization is taking place throughout the society and is having an ever stronger influence all around the world. It covers such distinctive units as fast food restaurants, TV dinners, package tours, manufacturing robots, plea bargaining, and open heart surgery on an assembly line base. As prevalent and as considerable as these developments are, it is obvious that humanity has only started a process that bodes even more exceptional transformations in the coming years. Rationalization can be viewed as a historic process and rationalism as the final offspring of that development. The model of rationalization is considered as a fast food restaurant (Linstead et al. 2009). As a result, the interest here is what can be called the McDonaldization of society. While the fast food restaurant is not the key phrase of the rationality, it is the actual sampling for upcoming developments in rationalization. As stated by George Ritzer, the McDonaldization is determined as the process by which the notions of the fast food restaurant are going to predominate in more and more areas of the society. The replacement of human for non-human technology is among the things that the society has featured by rationality accents on (Yeganeh 2011).

McDonald’s does not yet have robots to serve people eating, but it does have employees whose capability to operate independently is nearly fully removed by technologies, procedures, routines, and apparatuses. There is a big diversity of technologies that define the operations of employees such as beverage dispensers that stop on its own making a drink when the cup is full. Beeps, lights, and ringing note when the meal is ready, and cash registers include the prices of every item programmed into (Grey 2012). Due to such instruments and technologies, people frequently feel a sense of dealing with human machines when they talk to the staff of fast food restaurant. Thus, since people handle as accurately as robots, the potentiality of substitution of people with real machinery, such as robots, can grow significantly. In this way, the human employee is shortened to carrying out a restricted quantity of ordinary, repeated processes. The skills required to carry out a task are degraded into a set of routine actions. In other words, the skills were transformed into the routines rather than pertaining to skilled craftsmen.

Even religion and religious ceremonies have been affected by the spreading of non-human technics.  The rise of big religious associations, the usage of Madison-avenue machinery, and even drive-in churches – all display the penetration of new technology. However, in the electronic church, religion from the TV screens, a substitution of human by non-human technics in religion is most apparent and has its most significant demonstration (Clegg 2011).

The Extent to Which Technology Is Replacing Skilled Labour with McJobs

Ritzer utilizes the word, McJobs, to reveal the features of the part-time jobs in the McDonaldised working places, which are temporal, non-skill, homogenous, boring, fragmentary, and have a high staff turnover. Therefore, the jobs are low-paid and marginalized staffed with youthful and adolescent employees (Yeganeh 2011).

When people speculate over what the economy has lost from the beginning of the Great Recession, they lean forward to regard it in terms of ordinary addition and deduction. People said farewell to more than eight million jobs during the recession. But they have added nearly four million backward. However, there is another unpleasant aspect of this recuperation that has gotten much less care than the extended jobs lack. It is the fact that the majority of the jobs people lost proposed worthy payment while the ones people are adding are mainly low-level, service sector jobs. Middle-class jobs were substituted by McJobs (Wiessmann 2012).

Computer technologies are altering the types of jobs accessible, and those alters are not always good. At least from the beginning of the 1980s, computers have more and more absorbed such things as accountancy, office work, and repeated production jobs in manufacturing — all of which normally proposed middle-class payment. At the same time, higher-paying jobs that require creativity and problem-solving skills, frequently computer aided, have extended. Similarly, have extended low skill jobs: demand has grown for restaurant workers, cleaners, home health aides, and others providing service work that is almost impossible to automatize. The consequence has been a “polarization” of the staff and “excavation” of the middle class. It is something that has been occurring in many industrialized countries for the last years (Gamble 2006).

With the establishment of technologies into working places, there will be a loss of traditional skills, craft cognizance will be unappreciated or made anachronistic, the force of unions will be reduced, and the autonomy and voluntary power of employees will be reduced, as well. But, at the same time, technology generates skill modernization. With the establishment of technology, the complicacy of work is raised, worker autonomy is improved, and tasks become more complicated.

The National Employment Law Project points out the replacement of middle-class jobs in a new report. NELP determines a middle-wage job as one where the average employee earns 13.84 – 21.13$ per hour and at low-wage job one earns 7.69 – 13.83$. Middle-wage jobs, such as construction trades and secretaries, were 60% of the employment falling through the recession but having drew up only 22% of the recuperation within the first quarter of 2012, in accordance with the most recent Current Population Survey data. Low-wage jobs, such as retail and food service employees, drew up 21% of the losing and 58% of the increase (Wiessmann 2012).

This data is not just the acquaintance tale of how blue-collar, male-predominated fields such as construction and production were destroyed. As NELP indicates, the majority of the worst affected middle-wage jobs have been office employees. There are now nearly 345,000 less secretaries and administrative assistants and 108,000 less insurance claims clerks, for example. These are occupations that have probably been made needless by better technology, and the recession became the ability for organizations to shed weight (Wiessmann 2012). Just like factories have harvested productivity increases by dismissing employees and funding in machinery, some white-collar industries have cut their salaries by trusting more IT and temps. In that sense, what has occurred throughout the recession and its consequences is indeed the spreading of a longer term pattern, where technological transformation and globalization have formed an economy that makes a new job at the apex and bottom, but very little in the middle. The middle stratum of our economy was excavated in the recession (Romm & Pliskin 1999).

What is more, even if current digital technologies are oppressing job creation, history tells that it is most probably an interim, although unpleasant, tempest. As workers modify their skills and employers create opportunities considering the new technologies, the number of jobs will grow back. The issue, then, is whether current computing technologies will be unlike, creating long-term unintentional unemployment (Tolsby 2000).

For example, call centre employees are going to be automatized (partly or fully) in the following years. Many current telemarketers are not people. In some cases, there is only a record on the other side of the line. The record may induce to “press ‘one’ for more info,” but everything that a person says has no influence on the call — and, normally, that is obvious to the person. However, in some cases, there is a human being on the other end of the line, but they are just pressing buttons on a keyboard to walk the person through a pre-recorded but very interactive marketing step. It is a good example of how technology is replacing skilled labour with McJobs (Bain & Taylor 2000).

The next example is the accountants. Nowadays, people use the accounting software more and more often. The software becomes easier to utilize for consumers than ever before. For start-ups and small companies, automatizing their accounting requirements is an appealing alternative to paying a costly accountant. With the accounting software, the accountant’s skills needed are reduced (Rotman 2013).

People are going to see fewer and fewer dependency on real estate agents. Nowadays, it is the information epoch. Everything the person could probably want to be aware of is provided by online services, such as all available houses, and everything the person needs to know about the neighbourhood. The real estate agents will probably stay to assist with deals and transactions, but the majority of their earlier functions are beginning to disappear.

Writers are at risk, too. Many news articles during the last years have been written by software, and people likely have not even taken notice. Some of the world most esteemed editions —Forbes, for instance — frequently run computer written articles. The case is particularly true in sports and finance as those areas are highly data-oriented. However, it does not imply that people will see a future without human writers. Nevertheless, this technology would substitute some writers and newsmen, especially those who write about sports and finance.

The computers are going to substitute some actions that attorneys perform. They pick over legal documents and make other paperwork, and search in case law to reveal support for different legal arguments — things that machines have been taught to do. Attorneys depend strongly on language knowledge. Machines are now able to write news articles and even whole books on technical subjects. Technology can pick over legal documents, investigate evidence in a case, and study past cases and their results to form arguments and legal documents individually. However, attorneys will still present evidence and speak to a jury in a court.

Human doctors are not going to fade away in the nearest future, but their lower level personnel may soon find themselves substituted by technology performing their jobs more carefully and efficiently. Therefore, it can be seen to which extent technology is replacing skilled labour with McJobs.

Resisting McDonaldization

Nowadays, people witness technology fully substituting employees and lowering their skills. The control of the technology over the individual employee is so high and ubiquitous that individual employees have responded negatively manifesting such things as work resistance through lateness, truancy, turnover, protests, and even sabotage (Alvesson et al. 2009).

McDonaldization attracts attention to the dehumanizing and unreasonable sides of it, which force people to express a critical point of view and think about forms of resistance and other alternatives. This opposition includes creating individual and group plans of resistance, as well as the creation of feasible and socially liable alternatives. When resisting McDonaldization as societal rationalization, it is needed to arrange oppositional actions and subcultures that create alternatives to more rationalized common forms of social and economic organization. Creating food cooperatives, healthy food or ethnic restaurants, and growing and preparing one’s own food – all these possibilities make alternatives to the massified and fixed food that McDonald’s provides. In terms of health care, travel, and a diversity of other daily practices, everyone can always search for or create alternatives to the common mainstream. In every case, it is an issue as to if the rationalized service and product does or does not answer individual needs in a socially liable way, make a useful product or service at an impartial price, and offer a rational product compared to other alternatives (Buchanan & Huczynski 2013).

In general, one can rationally select to follow alternatives of common rationalization and mass-produced goods and services, and to keep away from McDonaldization by all means. On the other side, one is now and then compelled to use services or products from big McDonaldized companies if there are no rational alternatives. The critique, albeit, in some ways repeats the critique of mass society and culture created by both the left and the right. Such critique bewails over the growth in the modern world of fixed uniformity and homogenization, and the decadence of individuality, difference, and frequentative taste cultures. McDonald’s is implacably and continually homogenizing the world, destroying individuality and divergence. While there are definitely trends toward homogenization, massification, and globalization happening for which the rubric McDonaldization endues a partial optic, there is also a spread of dissimilarity, variety, multiplicity, and heterogeneity, as some forms of postmodern theory propose. Also, while globalization partly includes the homogenizing of local culture and dissimilarity, it also includes a spread of dissimilarity, hybridization, and the enlargement of consumer and life-style options – at least for some preferential groups and individuals (Witzel & Warner 2013).


Rationalization, with McDonald’s as a paradigm case, is occurring throughout the world. McDonaldisation is the process of more and more sectors of the society dominated by the principles of managing fast food restaurants. The technology in the process of McDonaldisation substitutes employees in routine occupations with a middle wage. Nevertheless, it is not yet able to carry out the non-routine work of employees with a low and high wage. Thus, medium wage jobs disappear, and people become unskilled. The control of the technology over the individual worker is so great that individual workers have reacted negatively through work resistance.

In the short term, technological change will help to create ‘good’ and ‘bad’ jobs, but in the long run it will not be a problem. Firstly, it is considerable to notice that, in average, occupation quality is increasing. Secondly, though the fraction of employees in low-paid jobs will grow, their relative wage will increase if the demand effect predominates the option and supply effects. This possibility is more likable in the long run as the supply of employees in routine occupations reduces. Thus, the remuneration structure will adjust to the transformations in the employment structure. However, experiential studies to maintain the existence of these theoretical connections between qualitative and quantitative transformations in the employment structure have to be conducted (Adler 2009).

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