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1.5m UK workers in jobs at high risk of automation

Job descriptions with ‘patient’ and ‘treatment’ as key words are less likely to become automated according to research by the Office for National Statistics

27 Mar 2019 by Selina Powell

A future gazing report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has assessed the impact of automation on the UK workforce.

Of the 19.9 million UK job roles analysed, the report estimates that 1.5 million workers are in roles that are at high risk of automation, while 12.9 million are in jobs at moderate risk and 5.5 million are in occupations with a low risk of automation.

The ONS highlights that jobs involving skills of perception and manipulation, creativity and social intelligence are less likely to become automated in the future.

“For example, you would expect that jobs that involve performing open heart surgery, composing music or looking after children are less likely to be automatable,” the report elaborated.

Among the occupations at high risk of automation, the most common words included in job descriptions for those roles were machine, operate, equipment and load.

Conversely, in descriptions of roles at low risk of automation, the most common words were plan, patient, research and treatment.

The ONS report highlighted that health-related words appear frequently in roles that are at low risk of becoming redundant through automation.

“These words…represent the value added by humans in these roles, which is difficult to computerise,” the document stated.

Image credit: KUKA Roboter GmbH

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