As our world becomes more and more technology-driven, robots could replace workers in a huge number of jobs, a new report has warned.
The report claims that as many as 800 million workers could be replaced by machines in just 13 years.
Jobs most likely to be taken include fast-food workers and machine-operators, while gardeners, plumbers and childcare workers are the least likely to be replaced by bots, according to the report.
The report, called ‘Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation’, was created by management consultancy firm, McKinsey.
It assesses the number and type of jobs that could be lost to automation over the next 13 years.
The report said: ‘The results reveal a rich mosaic of potential shifts in occupations in the years ahead, with important implications for workforce skills and wages.
‘Our key finding is that while there may be enough work to maintain full employment to 2030 under most scenarios, the transitions will be very challenging – matching or even exceeding the scale of shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing we have seen in the past.’
The report suggests that in about 60 per cent of jobs, at least one third of activities could be automated.
It said: ‘We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world.’
And while the report suggests that new jobs will be available, it highlights that people may need to learn new skills to get them.
The report said: ‘Of the total displaced, 75 million to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills.’
The report suggests that workers in China are likely to be most affected by the switch to automation.
It said: ‘In absolute terms, China faces the largest number of workers needing to switch occupations – up to 100 million if automation is adopted rapidly, or 12 percent of the 2030 workforce.
‘While that may seem like a large number, it is relatively small compared with the tens of millions of Chinese who have moved out of agriculture in the past 25 years.’
But the countries facing the biggest change are the US, Germany and Japan, according to the report.
It added: ‘For advanced economies, the share of the workforce that may need to learn new skills and find work in new occupations is much higher: up to one-third of the 2030 workforce in the United States and Germany, and nearly half in Japan.’
In terms of jobs, the report suggests that physical jobs in predictable environments – including machine-operators and fast-food worker – are the most likely to be replaced by robots.
But it added: ‘Collecting and processing data are two other categories of activities that increasingly can be done better and faster with machines.
Teacher numbers look to increase in India by a staggering 208 per cent, but decrease in Japan by eight per cent, while customer interaction jobs will decrease by 13 per cent in Japan. MCKINSEY & CO
‘This could displace large amounts of labor—for instance, in mortgage origination, paralegal work, accounting, and back-office transaction processing.’
Conversely, the report suggests that jobs in unpredictable environments are least are risk.
It said: ‘Occupations such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and eldercare – will also generally see less automation by 2030, because they are technically difficult to automate and often command relatively lower wages, which makes automation a less attractive business proposition.’