Financial jobs most at risk from automation

Approximately 24% of UK business leaders in the finance and accounting sector believe a high level of jobs in their organisation will be automatable in the next decade.


Friday 22

Financial jobs most at risk from automation

That is higher than in any other industry, according to a report from the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), which shows transportation and distribution is the sector next most under threat, followed by manufacturing.


In total, it was found that business leaders believe 15% of private sector jobs have the potential to be fully automated within ten years, as AI and robotics increasingly infiltrate the labour market.


It was concluded that this technology could also put downward pressure on wages, lead to greater monitoring in the workplace, and exacerbate economic, geographic, and demographic inequalities.


However, this will depend on how humans choose to implement it, with new machines also having the potential to raise productivity, phase out mundane work, and boost living standards.


“The point is that technology is a tool to be wielded by society, rather than an independent force with a mind of its own,” the report says.


“Whether or not AI and robotics helps or hinders workers will come down to the choices we make as employers, policymakers, consumers, investors and the wider public.”


The research involved a survey of 1111 business leaders by YouGov for the RSA, with all the respondents at senior manager/director level or above.


How susceptible they believe their respective sectors are to automation in the next ten years is shown below:

Source: RSA

Source: RSA


Some 46% of the respondents said that new technologies would lead to incremental automation and greater prosperity in the long-term, while just 15% took a negative view.


The global market for robotics and AI-based systems is expected to grow from $58bn (£42.8bn) in 2014 to $153bn by 2020, after the amount of venture capital funding doubled between 2011 and 2015.


The report also cites research that shows the UK has just 10 robot units for every million hours worked, compared with 131 in the US, 167 in Japan, and 133 in Germany


In addition, it reveals that UK workers are on average 35% less productive than their counterparts in Germany and 30% less than workers in the US.


“Advances in AI and robotics promise to pave the way towards a better world of work,” RSA associate director, Benedict Dellot, said. “It is now up to policymakers, employers and educators to help society grasp the opportunities.”


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