A new report by PwC claims that over 30% of UK jobs could be lost to automation by the year 2030.
Advances in AI, robotics, and technology could mean that many jobs that need humans today may be carried out by robots in the next 15 years.
According to the report, 44% jobs in manufacturing (where there are already many robots e.g. car manufacturing), especially those involving manual work, look likely to go to AI led software or robots.
Transportation jobs are also in the high-risk category for robot replacements, and according to the report, 56% of jobs could be lost to autonomous vehicles.
Jobs in the UK’s largest sectors, wholesale retail jobs, also look vulnerable to automation.
For some jobs which are highly varied, require specific human interaction, where people are required to have high levels of education, and where automation may be less acceptable e.g. education, less than 10% of jobs likely to be at risk to robots.
Worse In Other Countries
Both the US and Germany, however, are countries that have even higher forecasts of between 35% and 40% of jobs likely to be lost to automated alternatives in the next decade and a half.
Share The Gains
Technical commentators have noted that, even though some types of jobs and industries may be more at risk than others, the situation could be improved for all by making sure that the benefits of automation are shared across society.
Employment commentators have made the point that one factor that may be making the figures in the report look more menacing than they should is the fact that current UK employment levels (75%) are at their highest since modern records began in 1971.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Most businesses are likely to be affected by some aspect of automation e.g. software or mechanical, in the near future, either themselves of through suppliers and stakeholders. There is an inevitability that AI and robotics will alter what jobs look like in the future, but it is also important to remember that they could provide huge advantages and opportunities for businesses. Workers can try to insulate themselves from the worst effects of automation by seeking more education / lifelong learning, and by trying to remain positive towards and adapting to changes. How much automation and what kind of automation individual businesses adopt will, of course, depend upon a cost / benefit analysis compared to human workers, and whether automation is appropriate and is acceptable to their customers.
Author: Ben Armytage