Do robots pose a threat to UK jobs?
Recent headlines suggest that up to a third of jobs in the UK could be at risk of being replaced robots in the next 20 years. Whilst the advances in technology have been understood for many years, the scale of the impact of robotics on the UK job market has until now been widely under estimated.
Frey and Osbourne, commissioned by Deloitte to carry out a study on the risk of automation to UK jobs. The results of their study estimate, that approximately 35% of jobs in the UK are at high risk of being replaced by automation. Due to a lower instance of manufacturing than elsewhere in the UK London might fare better than the rest of the UK. In London, jobs paying under £30k are 8 times more likely to be replaced with technology than those paying over £100k.
Barriers to the automation age.
The biggest hurdles likely to slow down the implementation of automation are the needs of the role. Those that have a focus on the skills of perception and manipulation, creativity and social intelligence are harder to replace by machinery, meaning these roles are at lower risk of being replaced.
Changing landscape of the job market.
Whilst organisations studied revealed that they are planning to increase their workforces, some by up to 10%, over the next year, 85% stated that the jobs created will move away from process and administration roles, to a growth in roles with a managerial, creative and digital skill base.
The jobs at biggest risk – ie the jobs that have the lesser degree of barriers – are production in manufacturing, transport, construction and sales support services. Jobs at lowest risk are those in senior management positions, education, financial services, arts media and health care.
As some jobs disappear from the landscape, others emerge to replace them. Linked In did a review of their 259 million worldwide members, and reported the fastest growing job titles cited in the report include IOS developer, Social media, Data scientists and Zumba Instructors!
What does this mean for the workforce?
The need to adapt is important for continuity of employment. Jobs, job roles and organisations will in no doubt change significantly over the next 20 years. Employees and job hunters will need understand the changes to their local markets and react accordingly. Developing transferable skills and be willing to take a new direction will be essential for career success.