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A Third of London Workers to be replaced by Robots

Over thirty percent of workers in London could be replaced by automation over the next two decades, a new report found.

A new study conducted jointly by the Centre for London and the consultancy EY found that robots could be bound to take an increasingly large share of hobs in the capital. The ever-looming Brexit was mentioned as a key factor, alongside wage pressure and a gradual reduction in the cost of robots.

Low- to mid-level workers will be hit the hardest, and the soonest: they include jobs in industries such as retail, transportation, storage, accommodation and food. Automating these jobs will not always mean that someone loses their livelihood, as these sectors rely heavily on EU workers, who might just stop coming after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

As the general level of education grows across Britain and London, skilled workers will likely have little to fear from robots. Executives, writers, teachers, doctors, nurses and specialists have a minimal risk of being replaced by machines anytime soon; slightly riskier is the position of people working in customer care, leisure and travel.

“High skill levels, strong specialist sectors, and the likely creation of new jobs stand the capital in good stead,” the report reads.

Speaking to The Independent ,  Centre for London research director Richard Brown said: “London has an extraordinary history of economic resilience, and is well placed to ride the wave of disruption that rapid technological change and Brexit might unleash.

“But there could be losers as well as winners; lower skilled workers undertaking routine tasks could see their jobs disappear, and some may struggle to develop the skills needed for new roles.

“Government, schools, colleges and employers need to work together to ensure that skills, regulatory and welfare policies work together to strengthen London’s human capital and enhance both fairness and prosperity.”

One of the main problems pointed out in the report is that automation could wind up disproportionally favouring the wealthy , and damage the poorer and less skilled members of the society. Solutions such as a shorter working week or some form of Universal Basic Income were proposed in the document.

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