Manufacturing jobs at potential risk from automation by 2030s

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Around 30% of UK jobs could potentially be at high risk from automation by the early 2030s, including manufacturing roles, a report has warned.

The study, carried out by PwC, claimed the risks are higher in certain sectors such as transportation and storage (56%) and manufacturing (46%), but lower in sectors such as health and social work (17%).

“One of the main drivers of a job being at potential high risk of automation is the composition of tasks that are conducted,” the report said. “Workers in high automation risk industries such as transport and manufacturing spend a much greater proportion of their time engaged in manual tasks that require physical exertion and/or routine tasks such as filling forms or solving simple problems.”

Despite manufacturing and other sectors being at higher risk of automation, the firm said there could be offsetting job gains elsewhere in the economy.

“New automation technologies in areas like AI and robotics will both create some totally new jobs in the digital technology area and, through productivity gains, generate additional wealth and spending that will support additional jobs of existing kinds, primarily in services sectors that are less easy to automate,” the report said.

It added that not all jobs may actually become automated for a variety of economic, legal and regulatory reasons. In addition, UK job sectors are at less risk from automation than in the US (38%) and Germany (35%), the report added, but higher than Japan (21%).

Mike Wilson, chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association, will be discussing whether ‘robots really care for kaizen in the smart factory of the future’ at Works Management’s Manufacturing Management Conference in June. To find out more, visit, or call 01322 221144.