Almost half of Scottish jobs under threat by automation, report says


Almost half of jobs in Scotland could be taken by machines before 2030, a report on automation has warned.

The ‘Scotland Skills 2030’ report, produced by the Institute for Public Policy Scotland, said 46% of Scottish jobs – about 1.2 million – are at “high risk” of automation.

The report said that by 2030 Scots of working-age “are more likely to be working longer, and will often have multiple jobs, with multiple employers and in multiple careers”.

IPPR Scotland, which describes itself as a “progressive think tank”, recommended increased provision for mid-career training and education, to support the growing number of employees who will transition to a new career midway through their working life.

The IPPR Scotland think tank wants to see the creation of a new Open Institute of Technology, which will provide a “mix of online and face-to-face [training] provision”, and will be designed to deliver “improved rates of career progression, pay and productivity”.

Russell Gunson, director of IPPR Scotland, told the BBC that Scotland should focus on “retrofitting the current workforce to provide them with the skills they need, to deliver the inclusive economic growth we wish to see”.

He pointed to challenges facing the Scottish economy in coming years, including “demographic, technical, climate change – and of course Brexit”.

The report estimates that the susceptibility of Scottish workers to automation is substantially higher than in the UK as whole – a report earlier this year from PwC estimated that some 30% of UK jobs will be lost to machines by 2030.

The PwC report pointed to transport, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail as the sectors most vulnerable to machines, while noting automation presented less of a threat across education, health and social work.