2.5 What Jobs Are under Threat from Automation and AI?
In this podcast Graham Attwell asks what jobs are at the highest and lowest risk due to AI and automation?
A report by the Office of National Statistics in March 2019 said that one and a half million jobs at risk of some of their jobs being automated in the future. 7.4 per cent of 20 million jobs that they analyzed were at a high risk of automation. This was less than a previous survey undertaken in 2011.
It is possible that new jobs being created are more skilled and therefore at less rick on automation. But routine and repetitive tasks can more easily be taken over by machines designed for one function,
Women, young people and part time staff were most likely to work in roles at high risk.
Find out more about automation using this ONS chat bot:
The three jobs most at risk are waiters shelf fillers and elementary sales occupations. The three occupations at the lowest risk of automation were medical practitioners, higher education teaching professionals and senior professionals of educational establishments.
Geography may have a bearing on jobs at risk, with places with more high skilled work less badly affected.
Younger workers, says the ONS tend not to have the same range of experience and skills and may work in several jobs before they settle down in an occupation so placing them at higher risk and also women reentering the workforce.
Activity: Find out about the risks of automation in different occupation suing this ONS interactive tool
In the following podcast Graham Attwell introduces research undertaken in France, Italy and the UK by Nesta into how providing guidance on how workers can transition out of occupations at risk from automation (and often low skilled) into lower-risk roles.
Nesta has produced an interactive map that, they say, can be used to pinpoint the potential skill gaps between a worker’s current job and their desired job. They also identify the skills that would have the greatest broadening effect on a worker’s options.
For workers in jobs that have high suitability for machine learning, we find that there are four broad skill types that would increase their ‘safe and desirable transitions’. The most effective of these core skills can unlock, on average, between two and three new options per occupation. The four groups are:
- Management skills to manage staff, budgets and projects;
- Communication skills to build and maintain business relationships, use different communication channels and liaise with managers and authorities;
- Information analysis and evaluation skills to execute feasibility studies, assess financial viability, analyse risk and perform research;
- Compliance knowledge to comply with company guidelines, work health and safety standards and environmental legislation.
Taken together, our observations underscore the role of non-routine activities requiring advanced cognitive reasoning, human judgement, and working with other people, in protecting workers against automation risk.
Activity: You can try out the interactive map here.
Reflection: Think about your own job. What are the different tasks involved? Which tasks do you think could be done by AI and automation? Which tasks do you think AI and automation are unlikely to be able to do? What skills and experiences do you have which you think might be transferable to another job? What job is this?