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The jobs at 'high risk' from automation growth

Sky News logo Sky News 25/03/2019 James Sillars, business reporter

More than 1.5 million people in England are in jobs where there is a "high risk" of automation, according to the Office for National Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS says automation is not merely about robots taking over but also things like software designed to boost productivity © Other The ONS says automation is not merely about robots taking over but also things like software designed to boost productivity

The report, which analysed the roles of over 20 million workers in England last year, found women, those in part-time roles and young people were more generally threatened by technology, including software and even robots, taking some of their responsibilities.

Women held 70% of the jobs most at risk, the ONS said.

It said that the role and experience - not working patterns - were the biggest factors in determining risk.

a stack of flyers on a counter: Till operators are among those most at risk as self-service and online grocery shopping grow © Getty Till operators are among those most at risk as self-service and online grocery shopping grow

The study concluded it was possible automation had already had an effect on the labour market as the proportion of jobs at a high risk of automation had fallen from an earlier reading of 8.1% to 7.4%.

It cited examples from things like self-service checkouts at supermarkets and raised the theory that new jobs in the economy were more likely to be more complex, requiring less routine skills.

Where a person lives is also a factor, it said, because a local economy can be quite focused on a certain industry - such as agriculture.

The report said: "It is not so much that robots are taking over, but that routine and repetitive tasks can be carried out more quickly and efficiently by an algorithm written by a human, or a machine designed for one specific function.

© Getty

"The risk of automation tends to be higher for lower-skilled roles for this reason."

The three occupations with the highest probability of automation, according to the study. were waiters and waitresses, shelf fillers and those with entry level sales roles.

The three at the lowest risk were medical practitioners, higher education teaching professionals and "senior professionals of educational establishments".

Related: These big businesses are already replacing humans with robots [lovemoney]


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