Technology, automation and robotics destroys jobs by replacing human work with machines, and demanding workforces change up their skills to remain employable. This we know.
But a new study by professional services firm Deloitte has quantified the rate of destruction for the U.K. jobs market over the next 20 years — predicting that around one-third (35 per cent) of existing jobs across the U.K. are under high risk of replacement via automation over this time period.
The research was carried out by Deloitte with Carl Benedikt Frey, of the Oxford Martin School, and Michael A Osborne, of the Department of Engineering Science, at the University of Oxford. It follows a 2013 study conducted by Frey and Osborne on automation in the U.S. job market. That study estimated that 47% per cent of U.S. employment is at risk of automation.
The U.K. study links job destruction to rates of pay, with lower-paid jobs (paying less than £30,000) more than five times more likely to be replaced than higher-paid jobs (paying over £100,000).
This link between lower paid jobs and automation suggests technology risks fueling growing wealth inequalities — unless education and training can be successfully reconfigured to upskill populations with the digital, management and creative skills that are at reduced risk of automation.
The study found that lower paid jobs are almost eight times as likely to be replaced than higher paid jobs when looking specifically at London. Overall, though, the rate of tech-fueled destruction drops to 30 per cent of jobs specifically in London — likely owing to higher rates of pay in the capital vs the rest of the U.K.
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