One third of low skilled London jobs are at risk of automation, study says

One third of low-mid level London jobs could be lost to automation over the next 20 years, according to a new study.

The rhetoric of ‘robots will take our jobs’ may sound highly dystopian, but, according to this report, automation could be accelerated into reality due to Brexit, wage pressures and a 10% drop in the cost of robots.

However, there’s no need to panic too much yet – as the study suggests the UK’s capital can adapt to the changing job landscape through higher levels of education.

The report was conducted by Centre for London and EY. It read: “High skill levels, strong specialist sectors, and the likely creation of new jobs stand the capital in good stead,” the report said.

It also found that low to mid-skilled jobs will be the first affected. The wholesale, retail, transportation, storage, accommodation and food sectors are the most at risk; as the industries rely heavily on EU migration and employ around one million people.

CEOs, researchers, teachers and people who work in healthcare, the media and other specialised work are the least likely to lose their jobs to automation. The customer service, travel and leisure and building trades are slightly more at risk.

Caroline Artis, a partner at EY, commented on the news:”The next decade will see an acceleration in the pace of technological change like no other and all businesses should be prepared.”

Humans can still very much fit into the future workplace. However, to prepare for such change, policymakers need to pursue education that is suited to a world filled with more advanced AI and automation.

The other glaring issue is that the benefits of automation could disproportionately go to the rich, the report states. 

To counteract this, the report suggests, it could be useful to reduce the working week or provide a universal basic income as jobs become more scarce.