From brawn to brains

The impact of technology on jobs in the UK

Last year, Deloitte collaborated with Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne of Oxford University on Agiletown: The relentless march of technology and London’s response. In that report, we suggested that 35 per cent of jobs in the UK were at high risk of automation in the next 10 to 20 years. In recent months, we have conducted a new and in-depth study of the UK’s labour force to understand how these hypothetical models compare with actual changes in employment over the last 15 years.


This new work paints a positive picture: while technology has potentially contributed to the loss of approximately 800,000 lower-skilled jobs, there is equally strong evidence to suggest that it has helped to create nearly 3.5 million new higher-skilled ones in their place.

Each one of these new jobs pays, on average, £10,000 more per annum than the one lost. Crucially, every nation and region of the UK has benefitted, and we estimate that this technology-driven change has added £140 billion to the UK’s economy in new wages.

Key takeaways

• Over the last fifteen years, the UK has benefited from a technology-driven shift from low skill, routine jobs to higher skill, non-routine occupations.

• 800,000 jobs have been lost but nearly 3.5 million new ones have been created

• On average, each job created is paid approximately £10,000 per annum more than the lower-skilled, routine jobs they replace, resulting in a £140 billion net boost to the economy.

• Every region has benefitted from employment growth in higher-skilled occupations.

• Almost three quarters of UK businesses surveyed say that they will, net, employ more people in future and most think that technology will have a significant or very significant impact on their businesses.

• In the future businesses will need more skills, including: digital know-how, management capability, creativity, entrepreneurship and complex problem solving.

• The UK’s continued success will rest on the ability of businesses and organisations, educators and government to anticipate correctly future skills requirements and provide the right training and education.

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