Skip to main content

Automation could replace 1.5m UK jobs

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Vasin Lee)

Whether or not automation will replace humans in the workforce is a highly divisive topic, and the newest research suggests that some people may, in fact, be at risk of losing their jobs to a robot or software.

The research comes courtesy of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has found that highly repetitive and routine tasks, such as being a waiter or shelf filler, could very easily be replaced by a machine.

The research analysed 20 million people in the UK in 2017, and says that 7.4 per cent of people, mostly women, are in danger of losing their jobs to a robot. Besides women, part-time workers and the younger members of the workforce are also in danger.

"It is not so much that robots are taking over, but that routine and repetitive tasks can be carried out more quickly and efficiently by an algorithm written by a human, or a machine designed for one specific function," the ONS said.

On the other end of the spectrum are jobs that are unlikely to be replaced by a bot any time soon – teachers and medical practitioners.

The ONS also said that automation will have a major effect, not just on the job market, but on the economy and society as a whole.

Apparently, there are fewer jobs at risk now than there were eight years ago, but the proportion of jobs at low and medium risk of automation is on the rise.

Image source: Shutterstock/Vasin Lee