Two in five jobs in Newham under threat by automation

PUBLISHED: 10:00 01 April 2019

Low-skill jobs are the most at risk from automation. Picture: Westminster Council.

Low-skill jobs are the most at risk from automation. Picture: Westminster Council.


The rise in automation threatens more than two in every five jobs in Newham, new data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows.

But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says new technology will create new and more technical jobs at the same time as making some obsolete.

The ONS figures reveal that 116,000 jobs in Newham, measured in 2017, could be partially or totally replaced by machines in the coming years.

That’s 45% of the occupations in the borough.

Only six per cent of those were at a high risk of being made obsolete—meaning the likelihood of them being replaced by machines is more then 70 per cent.

A further 65 per cent of the jobs were at medium risk—that’s between 30 and 70 per cent.

An ONS spokesperson said: “It is not so much that robots are taking over, but that repetitive tasks can be carried out more quickly and efficiently by an algorithm or a machine.

“The risk of automation tends to be higher for lower-skilled roles for this reason.”

Felicity Burch, the CBI’s director of innovation and digital, said technology is predominantly putting jobs held by women, and low-skilled occupations, at risk.

She said: “The picture is complicated, as ONS’s own analysis shows that some of the roles most at risk of automation saw a boost in recent years.

“Furthermore, we know that the more businesses invest in new technology, the more likely they are to create new roles.

“If we are to capture the benefits, there are two fundamental things to get right—encouraging further investment and making sure that people have the digital skills they need to get the new jobs that the future will bring.”

The ONS analysed the jobs of 20 million people across England in 2017 and found that 7.4% were at high risk of being replaced.

And 70% of the roles at high risk of automation are currently held by women.

People aged 20 to 24 years old are most likely to be at risk of having their job replaced, and low-skilled occupations, like waiting or shelf stacking, face the highest risk.

Jobs requiring higher qualifications, such as medical practitioners and higher education teachers, are less susceptible to computerisation.

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