UK builders' jobs threatened by robots

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The imminent introduction of robots and smart machines into the construction workforce might leave more than half a million people in the UK without a job quite soon. That is, unless they re-skill and prepare for the future.

The conclusion was posted in a new report by consultancy and construction firm Mace, which says robotics, autonomous vehicles, IoT and AI could leave 600,000 people in the construction industry jobless by the time we reach 2040.

The upside of the whole ordeal is the fact that introducing such machines to the industry will add an extra £25bn to the UK economy, and would have a ‘knock-on effect on infrastructure projects and the housing shortage’.

“Everyone now acknowledges the current skills shortages need to be addressed," said Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds. "The industry, our training bodies and government need to work together to take full advantage of everything that industry 4.0 can offer.”

The number of bricklayers will fall from 73,000 to 4,300. Today’s 260,000 carpenters will shrink to just 15,500 by 2040, and the number of labourers will fall from 127,000 to just 7,500.

CityAM reports that separate estimates suggest 80 per cent of jobs in the retail industry could disappear thanks to automation. Further research claims 30 per cent of all jobs in the UK could see a similar fate by 2030.

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