Automation could kill off around 330,000 jobs in London

David Becker/Getty Images
  • Around one third of low to mid-skill level jobs in London are at high risk of automation, a new report said.
  • Factors including Brexit, cheaper robots and pressure to increase wages in the capital may all accelerate the move to automation.
  • New job creation, demand for specialist services and higher levels of education than in the rest of the country are expected to keep the economy healthy.

London could lose around one third of its low to mid-skill level jobs to automation over the next 20 years, according to a new study.

Brexit, combined with wage pressures and a 10% drop in the cost of robots could all accelerate automation in London, the report by Centre for London and the consultancy EY said.

Low to mid-skilled jobs will be the first affected and some of the sectors most at risk are those heavily dependent on EU migration, including wholesale, retail, transportation, storage, accommodation and food – which together employ around one million people.

“The next decade will see an acceleration in the pace of technological change like no other and all businesses should be prepared,” said Caroline Artis, a partner at EY.

Here’s the chart of the industries at risk:

Automation potential for occupational groups in LondonEYAutomation potential for occupational groups in London

Despite concerns over job losses in some sectors, London is well placed to adapt to the changing circumstances.

Higher levels of education in the capital mean that the population is less threatened by automation and more able to adapt to changes compared with the rest of the UK.

“High skill levels, strong specialist sectors, and the likely creation of new jobs stand the capital in good stead,” the report said.

Although it warned that policymakers need to consider how to respond to modernisation, highlighting the need for education which is relevant to the workplace of tomorrow.

The report also said that the benefits of automation could disproportionately go to the rich.Reducing the working week or providing a universal basic income levels could be solutions in a world with less employment due to automation, the report said.

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