If German office workers aren't feeling nervous about losing their jobs, maybe they should be.
More than 100,000 administrative jobs will disappear over the next five to 10 years as companies reduce operating costs by automating numerous administrative processes, says a study released by German subsidiary of the consultancy A.T.Kearney.
The industrialisation of business administrations is an ongoing process that has had an impact on numerous industries for the past 20 years, and that process is being accelerated through the implementation of ERP systems, according to the study's author, Stephan Frettlöhr, a principle consultant at the company.
As a result, the number of employees in administrative positions in key German industries, such as car manufacturing, energy, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, will decrease from around 152,000 today to 34,000 by 2016. Nearly 50,000 jobs could disappear in the short term, it said.
The sector to shed the largest number of jobs will be car manufacturing with a 41-percent reduction, followed by the utilities sector with a 23-percent drop in administrative positions.
Growing pressure on profit margins and globalisation are forcing German companies to optimise their business processes at an accelerated pace, according to the study.
Germany is in the middle of a structural change similar to the one it underwent during the industrial revolution of the past century, A.T. Kearney said.
While IT - and ERP systems in particular - will be the primary drivers of change in the office sector, other factors include integration, standardisation and consolidation of business processes.
Germany is the home base of SAP AG, the world's biggest supplier of ERP software.
The survey was conducted independently and funded by A.T.Kearney, said Frettlöhr.