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A third of UK jobs could be lost to robots and automation

There has been another warning delivered about how our future employment world could be slowly taken over by robots and technology in general.

According to Deloitte, no less than 35 per cent of UK jobs are at "high risk" of being made redundant by technology and/or robotics in the next two decades. Only 40 per cent of job roles are "low" or "no risk", and 51 per cent in London.

Deloitte's research, which was conducted in conjunction with Carl Benedikt Frey of the Oxford Martin School, and Michael Osborne of Oxford university, found that jobs paying less than £30,000 per annum are five times more likely to be taken over by automation than roles of over £100,000.

Job areas at high risk include admin, transport, construction, production and sales, with low risk roles including computers, engineering, legal, finance, healthcare, media and the arts.

Those jobs requiring repetitive processing, clerical and support duties are likely to be replaced with jobs requiring digital and management skills – a trend that is already showing itself, Deloitte notes.

Related: Is it possible that a robot will be doing your job in 2025? (opens in new tab)

Angus Knowles-Cutler, London senior partner at Deloitte, commented: "Technological advances are likely to cause a major shift in the UK labour market in the coming decades, creating both challenges and opportunities."

"Unless these changes coming in the next two decades are fully understood and anticipated by businesses, policy makers and educators, there will be a risk of avoidable unemployment and under-employment. A widening gap between 'haves' and 'have nots' is also a risk as lower skill jobs continue to disappear."

Many London businesses realise this, though, Deloitte found when it surveyed a hundred of them. 84 per cent of London firms said that they realised the skills of their staff would need to change over the next decade, and that digital savvy and management are skills that London-based organisations increasingly need, with processing and clerical work less necessary.

Almost three-quarters of these companies said they planned to increase staff members in the next five years, but where jobs are being cut back, automation will be the leading factor in that reduction (followed by near-shoring, then offshoring).

Read more: Robots will take half of all human jobs in near future, say leading scientists (opens in new tab)

Knowles-Cutler observed: "London has a lot going for it. It is the greatest high skills city in the world and the fact that most businesses plan to grow their headcount here in the next ten years is very positive. Across the UK as well, there are reasons to be positive, the economy is recovering and job growth is coming from dynamic businesses, hiring faster than the national average."

"But below the headline numbers things are changing fast, and the challenges, right across the UK, are evident. The likely loss of lower paid jobs is a real concern, and the new skills that employers will need in the future deserves close attention."

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.