New research reveals which jobs are at risk
According to new research, 37% of employees believe that their current job is threatened by automation and digital transformation. Based on survey results of over 1,000 UK workers, HR software provider CIPHR has released a list of the occupations that are the most and least likely to be replaced by technology or machines.
In the survey, respondents were asked to rate the likelihood that their occupation could become automated. Thirty-three percent of women and 43% of men believe that it is very likely that automation could replace their jobs. Further findings revealed that 54% of respondents aged 18 – 24 believe that their jobs may not exist in the future compared to 27% of those over 45.
To measure how closely people’s perceptions were to the likelihood of automation making people’s jobs redundant, CIPHR compared the survey results to a report Office for National Statistics (ONS). Across all the occupations included in the study, the findings showed a notable difference between workers’ perceptions and ONS researchers’ predictions.
A significant number of people vastly underestimated or overestimated the probability of their work becoming automated, suggesting a misconception about which jobs and associated tasks are susceptible to automation.
According to the research, 60% or more of jobs such as kitchen and catering assistants, cleaners, and sales and retail assistants are at risk of automation. Still, many people in these roles believe that the likelihood of this happening is relatively low.
Of the jobs considered to have a low risk of automation (30% or less), such as nursing, IT directors, and accounting, many people doing these jobs fear that their roles are at risk.
The research showed that, on average, people in more labour-intensive, non-desk based roles are more likely to underestimate the impact of automation (69%) than desk-based workers (49%).
There were similar results findings when looking at salaries. Many more people earning over £40,000 a year are more likely to overestimate the likelihood of automation taking over their jobs compared to employees earning under £31,285 (76% vs 29%).
The occupations with the smallest difference between perception and probability included:
- Human resource managers and directors (29% think their job is likely to be automated)
- IT user support technicians (27%)
- Programmers and software development professionals (27%)
- Restaurant and catering managers and proprietors (38%)
- Bookkeepers, payroll managers and wages clerks (55%)
Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at CIPHR, comments: “Almost every industry has been transformed in some way by technology. And while digitalisation and automation have brought many positive benefits to organisations, such as improved efficiencies and productivity, streamlined processes, and reduced costs and timesaving, there is still much uncertainty about how it will impact people’s jobs in the long term.
“The challenge is to get the right balance of technology and people. Employees need to feel valued, that their roles have been enhanced by technology rather displaced by it. People often underestimate the human skills that they bring to their roles – the many parts of their jobs that can’t easily be replaced by algorithms and AI. The workplace and job roles will continue to evolve with technology, so employers need to consider the best ways to upskill and reskill their existing employees to keep up with these changes – making sure that they have the capacity, skills and capabilities to do their jobs and progress in their careers.”
Based on the survey results, many employees are unprepared for the changes ahead in their working lives. But even if occupations can become fully automated, it doesn’t mean they will. Instead, more than likely, roles will evolve, and new roles will be created.