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Future of Work

Up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysis firm Oxford Economics. People displaced from those jobs are likely to find that comparable roles in the services sector have also been squeezed by automation, the firm said.

However, increasing automation will also boost jobs and economic growth, it added. The firm called for action to prevent a damaging increase in income inequality.

Each new industrial robot wipes out 1.6 manufacturing jobs, the firm said, with the least-skilled regions being more affected.

Regions where more people have lower skills, which tend to have weaker economies and higher unemployment rates anyway, are much more vulnerable to the loss of jobs due to robots, Oxford Economics said.

Moreover, workers who move out of manufacturing, tend to get new jobs in transport, construction, maintenance, and office and administration work – which in turn are vulnerable to automation, it said.

On average, each additional robot installed in those lower-skilled regions could lead to nearly twice as many job losses as those in higher-skilled regions of the same country, exacerbating economic inequality and political polarisation, which is growing already, Oxford Economics said.

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