Insights

Automation 'could threaten UK jobs'

New Deloitte research has warned that a significant number of UK jobs could be impacted by automation

Monday 10 November 2014

More than a third of British jobs could be put in jeopardy over the coming two decades as a result of new technologies, robotics and automation systems, according to Deloitte research.

Working in collaboration with Benedikt Frey, of the Oxford Martin School, and Michael A Osborne, of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, the business advisory firm said that 35% of existing roles could be put at risk because of new innovations.

Digital, management and creative skills may become more important to employers in the near future, rather than things like repetitive processing, clerical services, and support services, the study found.

Despite the warnings, it was also found that 40% of jobs in the UK only face a low risk or no risk at all.

Sector-specific challenges

Detailed findings from the report show that office and administrative support, sales and services, and transportation are among the key sectors where jobs could be put at risk in the next 20 years or so.

Financial services, computing and skilled management jobs have a much lower risk, however.

In UK-wide terms, Deloitte said people in jobs which offer annual wages of less than £30,000 are almost five times as likely to see their roles replaced as those in jobs which pay more than £100,000.

‘Challenges and opportunities await’

Deloitte’s London senior partner, Angus Knowles-Cutler, said challenges and opportunities could be created on the back of technological advances.

He added:

“Unless these changes coming in the next two decades are fully understood and anticipated by businesses, policy makers and educators, there will be a risk of avoidable unemployment and under-employment."

“A widening gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is also a risk as lower skill jobs continue to disappear.”

London employers step up recruitment efforts

Looking specifically at the capital, Deloitte found that many firms are planning ahead for technological changes.

For instance, almost three quarters (73%) of the employers it polled with an interest in London aim to take on more workers over the coming half-decade.

Meanwhile, 84% of them are aware that their employees will need to adapt their skills over the next 10 years.

They said that skills relating to areas like management, the digital sector and creativity are becoming more important.

Mr Knowles-Cutler concluded that close attention will need to be paid to the evolving skill-sets which employers require.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright Press Association 2014

“Unless these changes coming in the next two decades are fully understood and anticipated by businesses, policy makers and educators, there will be a risk of avoidable unemployment and under-employment." Angus Knowles-Cutler, London senior partner at Deloitte

Did you find this useful?