Robots Could Have a Third of UK Jobs Away in Next 20 Years

By Matt Hill on at

Consider this your weekly Skynet warning. According to a new study carried out by the employment research superteam of academics from Oxford University and accountants from Deloitte, more than a third of UK jobs are at "high risk" of being automated by our computer-operated pals in the next 20 years.

And despite these findings coming from a primarily capital-centric London Futures study, it has a fair amount to say about the wider country's job prospects, too. Here are its not unpredictable but still slightly depressing findings in brief:

  • 35% of UK jobs, and 30% in London, are at high risk from automation over the next two decades.
  • However, 40% of UK jobs are at low risk. In London, 51% of jobs are at low risk the highest level of job safety across all UK regions.
  • Jobs paying less than £30,000 a year are nearly five times more likely to be replaced by automation than jobs paying over £100,000. In London, low paid jobs are eight times more likely to be replaced.
  • 73% of London businesses plan to increase their headcount in the next five years, 51% say they will add 10% to current staff numbers.
  • 84% of London businesses say the skills of their employees will need to change over the next ten years. ‘Digital know-how’, ‘management’ and ‘creativity’ are the skills London businesses increasingly in need, with ‘processing,’ ‘support and clerical work’ and ‘foreign languages’ less in need.
  • 36% of London businesses plan to increase their property footprint in London, while 40% plan to increase their flexible or collaborative work spaces. 50% of retailers will increase property, both office and retail spaces, followed by 48% of financial and business services firms and 31 of TMT firms.

Still with us? Good. Still smiling? Oh.

Well, it's not all bad news. The world's fastest-growing job areas are apparently UX designers and app developers, while those jobs said to be least at risk include the media (really?!) and jobs in computing, engineering and education. So, thumbs up for working in media, computing, engineering or education!

This report is the sequel to the researchers' equally cheery "how likely is your job to be replaced by a robot" index from last year, if you're now feeling in a particularly John Connor mood. [Deloitte via Design Week]

Image Credit: Robot workers at Shutterstock