Robots could affect 30% of UK jobs, says PwC
According to a study by PwC, robotics and artificial intelligence could affect almost a third of UK jobs by the 2030s. However, the report also predicted that the nature of some occupations would change rather than disappear and that automation could create more wealth and additional jobs elsewhere in the economy.
Jobs in manufacturing and retail were among the most at risk from the new technologies, the report said. The study estimated that 30% of existing jobs in the UK were potentially at a high risk of automation, compared with 38% in the US, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan.
According to John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC: “The UK employment rate is at its highest level now since comparable records began in 1971, despite advances in digital and other labour-saving technologies.” He added that manual and routine tasks will be susceptible to automation, with social skills and creative roles being more protected. “That said, no industry is entirely immune from future advances in robotics and AI,” he said.
“By boosting productivity – a key UK weakness over the past decade – and so generating wealth, advances in robotics and AI should also create additional jobs in less automatable parts of the economy as this extra wealth is spent or invested,” he said.
Some industries will fare better than others. Jobs in the water, sewage and waste management industry face a 62.6% chance of being automated according to PwC, while those in transportation and storage come in second at 56.4%. Other countries are expected to be hit more severely by the job losses than the UK, with 38% of positions estimated to be impacted in the US and 35% in Germany.
Which jobs are at risk?
Transportation and storage – 56% of jobs at high risk from automation
Manufacturing – 46%
Wholesale and retail trade – 44%
Administrative and support services – 37%
Financial and insurance – 32%
Professional, scientific and technical – 26%
Construction – 24%
Arts and entertainment – 22%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing – 19%
Human health and social work – 17%
Education – 9%