AUTOMATION threatens to steal more than 100,000 jobs in Warwickshire.
While the rising tide of automation offers opportunities to businesses in the coming years it also carries significant risks, according to new research by Warwickshire County Council.
The report reveals an estimated 116,000 jobs in the county – four in ten of the Warwickshire workforce – were at “very high risk” of automation. Of these, an estimated 81,500 may be lost in the wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and the tourism and construction industries.
Occupations at greatest risk, according to the report’s findings, include the likes of lorry drivers, factory assemblers and warehouse workers.
The report also warns that, based on local labour shortages and large wage-premiums, automation was likely to have significant impacts on the automotive industry.
Businesses have been warned they need to look to exploit future automation while also having an eye on the potential pitfalls.
Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe said: “Warwickshire is renowned as a place which embraces new technology and often leads the way. That is a real strength of the county’s economy, but to ensure that the benefits of automation are realised, whilst the negatives are minimised, policy-makers require a cohesive and proactive approach to dealing with rapid improvements in technology.
“For this reason, we have set out the five policy recommendations below which can ensure a balanced and productive outcome, and help ensure that the county is well prepared for the both the opportunities that automation can bring, but also the potential disruption to employees.”
The report states occupations at least risk of automation are those requiring a high degree of creative thinking. It identifies 11 occupations as likely to remain unaffected or to expand, the most important of which, for Warwickshire, are design and development engineers, electronics engineers, quality control and planning engineers, mechanical engineers and IT business analysts and systems designers.
Opportunities set to be opened up by ever-more sophisticated automation include a better-equipped health care system, increases in wage and productivity, and an ability for employees to specialise in more complex roles.
Visit apps.warwickshire.gov.uk/api/documents/WCCC-688-324 to read the full Warwickshire Economics report.