• Carole Katz

PwC report - Will robots steal our jobs?



From PricewaterhouseCoopers, March, 2017

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that up to 38% of US jobs, 35% of German jobs and 30% of UK jobs are at risk of being lost to automation by the early 2030s. The risks are highest in sectors such as transportation and storage (56%), manufacturing (46%) and wholesale and retail (44%). They are lower in sectors like health and social work (17%).

For individuals, PwC report the key differentiating factor is education. Those in the UK with "low education" (GCSE level or lower) have a 46% potential risk of automation, compared to 12% for those with a "high education" (undergraduate degrees or higher).

It was noted by PwC, however, that the net impact of automation on total employment is unclear. In practice, not all these jobs may be automated due to economic, legal and regulatory reasons. Further, automation in areas like AI and robotics will create new jobs and enhance productivity, generating wealth and spending that will support additional jobs of existing kinds (e.g. in service sectors that are less easy to automate).

PwC believe there is a case for government intervention to ensure potential gains from automation are shared more widely across society through policies like increased investment in vocational education and training. They suggest universal basic income streams may also be considered, while recognising there are potential problems in terms of affordability and adverse effects on the incentives to work and generate wealth.


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