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Jobs with low risk of automation growing faster than jobs being replaced

Jobs that cannot be automated have increased since 2001, providing the UK economy with a significant financial boost

The number of jobs with low risk of technology automation is increasing faster than the number of jobs being replaced by automated processes across all regions of the UK, according to research by advisory firm Deloitte.

Between 2001 and 2015, jobs with low risk of automation paid on average £10,000 more than those at high risk as they require better skills, contributing £140bn to the UK economy, said the report.

Around 800,000 high-risk jobs have been replaced since 2001, but 3.5 million jobs at low risk of automation have been created, such as care home workers and teaching assistants.

“Our work shows the automation of jobs – and a shift from brawn to brains – is well underway in every region of the UK. But we appear to be benefiting from this, not losing out,” said Angus Knowles-Cutler, vice-chairman of Deloitte.

“Technology is replacing the high-risk, routine occupations in the UK, but we are seeing good growth in the creative, caring and complex jobs at less risk of automation, as well as increased economic value from these jobs.”

Out of jobs with low risk of automation, care home workers increased by 55%, teaching assistants increased by 202% and business and financial project managers increased by 842%.

However, some occupations have suffered, with personal assistants reducing by 50%, typists losing 75% and bank or post office branches going down by 44% as a result of automation and use of technology.

Economic value has been added across all regions of the UK, with the south-east contributing the most with a 46.6% increase in low-risk jobs, contributing £30.9bn to the UK economy.

Knowles-Cutler said: “We cannot be complacent. Business, educators and government must work together to ensure young people enter the workforce with the skills suited to the jobs of tomorrow, and those already in work are able to reskill during their careers.”

In a 2014 Deloitte report by Michael Osborne and Carl Benedikt Frey, it was estimated that 35% of jobs are at high risk of being automated over the next 10 to 20 years.

Harvey Lewis, head of analytics research at Deloitte, said: “The data shows strong evidence that the changes in the UK labour market are linked to advances in technology and the shifts we expect to see in the next 20 years as automation takes hold.”

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