A new report from Oxford Economics suggests that 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could become automated by 2030. The analyst said that for each robot introduced in the manufacturing line, 1.6 jobs will be lost. It said the problem will be compounded in low-income areas where robots could affect 2.2 jobs compared to just 1.3 jobs in high-income regions. This divide, it said, could further heighten income inequality and cause politics to become more extreme.
In the report, Oxford Economics highlighted a double problem for those susceptible to losing their manufacturing jobs. It said that those who leave the sector tended to get new jobs in transport, construction, maintenance, and administration - all jobs which are open to becoming automated. Those people with low skills will be harder pressed to find new jobs as a result.
Over the years, people have worried that automation will only wipe out jobs, actually, the report found that the phenomenon creates as many jobs as it kills. With that said, it impacts countries disproportionately, for example, in China 550,000 jobs have been lost to automation since 2000, while in the U.S. this figure is less than half at 260,000.
Going forward, the report warns that the most at-risk jobs are those of a repetitive nature whereas jobs that require “compassion, creativity, or social intelligence” will be carried out by humans for several more decades. If you’re thinking about retraining for the future of work, this nugget of information is definitely something to keep in mind.
In terms of service jobs, the report stated that transport and construction jobs are most at risk, while law and journalism are fairly safe.
One of the most popular ways proposed for combating income inequality is the introduction of universal basic income, a payment that all members of society would receive whether they’re in work or not. In theory, this initiative would help workers that become technologically unemployed, giving them an opportunity to retrain and find a new job. UBI has been trialed in Kenya, Finland, and parts of the United States; the UK Labour Party has also said it will conduct a trial of UBI if it gets into power.
Source: BBC News