A third of existing jobs are at risk of being taken over by robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) within 15 years, a report reveals.
As many as 30pc of existing roles in the UK could be automated by 2030 with the most at risk industries being waste management, transportation and manufacturing, according to an analysis by PwC. However, the report stressed that automation won’t result in rocketing unemployment.
“The UK employment rate is at its highest level now since comparable records began in 1971, despite advances in digital and other labour-saving technologies,” said John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC.
Mr Hawksworth anticipates that manual and routine tasks will be susceptible to automation, with social skills and creative roles being more protected. “That said, no industry is entirely immune from future advances in robotics and AI,” he said.
However, in many cases the nature of jobs will change rather than the roles completely disappearing, according to PwC. In particular, AI is expected to boost productivity and create additional jobs in new sectors of the economy.
“By boosting productivity – a key UK weakness over the past decade – and so generating wealth, advances in robotics and AI should also create additional jobs in less automatable parts of the economy as this extra wealth is spent or invested,” said Mr Hawksworth.
Some industries will fare better than others. Jobs in the water, sewage and waste management industry face a 62.6pc chance of being automated, according to PwC, while those in transportation and storage come in second at 56.4pc.
At the other end of the spectrum, domestic personnel and education positions face just an 8pc risk of being replaced by robotics.
Other countries are expected to be hit more severely by the job losses than the UK, with 38pc of positions estimated to be impacted in the US and 35pc in Germany.