Almost half of North Somerset jobs at risk of being lost to machines, robots and automation

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 April 2019

Almost half of North Somerset's jobs are at risk of succumbing to automation.

Almost half of North Somerset's jobs are at risk of succumbing to automation.

Archant

Tens of thousands of jobs across North Somerset could be replaced by machines in the coming years, as technology improvements threaten to render almost half the district's professions redundant.

Research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found 76,000 roles could be partially or totally replaced by automation in the coming years, equating to 44 per cent of the jobs in North Somerset.

The ONS reports seven per cent of jobs are at high risk, which means the probability of them being replaced by robots exceeds 70 per cent.

Two thirds of jobs face a ‘medium risk’ of being taken on by machines, but some experts believe the improvements in technology will in turn create new, more technical positions in place of some menial roles currently carried out by humans.

An ONS spokesman said: “It is not so much that robots are taking over, but that repetitive tasks can be carried out more quickly and efficiently by an algorithm or a machine.

“The risk of automation tends to be higher for lower-skilled roles for this reason.”

The data has been published after the ONS analysed 20 million jobs across the country.

The statisticians found people aged 20-24 are most at risk of losing their job to a robot, while low-skilled occupations like waiting and shelf stacking are among the likeliest to be replaced.

About 70 per cent of the jobs at high risk of becoming redundant are occupied by women.

However, professions requiring high-level qualifications such as teaching or medicine are much less likely to be replaced by a machine.

Felicity Burch, director of innovation at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “The picture is complicated, as the ONS’ own analysis shows some of the roles most at risk of automation saw a boost in recent years.

“Furthermore, we know the more businesses invest in new technology, the more likely they are to create new roles.

“If we are to capture the benefits, there are two fundamental things to get right – encouraging further investment and making sure that people have the digital skills they need to get the new jobs that the future will bring.”

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