Up to 800m jobs could be lost to automation, says McKinsey

Up to 800m workers worldwide could lose their jobs as a result of automation by 2030, according to research by consultants McKinsey.

The researchers predict that 20% of current UK jobs will be automated. This compares with their predictions of 9% for India, and up to one third of US workers.

The researchers found that “60% of occupations have at least 30% of constituent work activities that could be automated”.

The report says that professions most susceptible to automation are likely to be in ‘predictable environments’, including operating machinery and preparing fast food. 

In contrast, automation will have a more muted effect on jobs that involve expertise, managing people and those that require frequent social interactions.

The reports says ‘unpredictable’ jobs such as gardeners, plumbers or providers of child and elderly care are also less likely to see automation over the next decade, as they remain challenging to automate and don’t usually earn high wages. 

However, the report emphasises that it doesn’t see automation leading to large-scale unemployment. “It is important to note, however, that even when some tasks are automated, employment in those occupations may not decline but rather workers may perform new tasks,” says McKinsey. 

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