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Rise Of Robots – Automation and Job Loss Stats in 2020

by Darina Lynkova

Last Updated on

Are robots taking over our jobs? 

That’s one of the most pressing questions in this digital world. Although it sounds like a plot from a sci-fi novel, the idea of automating manual labor has been a reality since the cotton gin. 

Certainly, it’s no secret that technology is dominating society. The question is whether the future will look like The Terminator, with self-aware killer robots, or The Jetsons, with robotic maids doing all the housework. 

Let’s take a closer look at recent jobs lost to automation statistics to better understand how technology is disrupting society.

Fascinating Automation and Job Loss Statistics (Editor’s Choice):

    • 1.7 million jobs have been lost to automation since 2000.
    • In England, 1.5 million jobs are in danger of being automated.
    • 25% of mundane and repetitive jobs are at risk of automation.
    • 375 million jobs are expected to vanish by 2030.
    • Artificial intelligence will displace 40% of jobs worldwide in the next 15 years.
    • Artificial intelligence will generate 2.3 million jobs starting in 2020.

These are staggering figures, and we’ll dig deep to discover the trends behind them.

First things first, though:

What Is Job Automation?

Job automation is the practice of replacing human labor in the workplace with computer-controlled devices and other electronics. 

Here’s the deal:

It’s no longer limited to the replacement of manual processes. Job automation also entails substituting knowledge-based occupations with technology, a bit like the workers who compile Wikipedia statistics. Artificial intelligence and machine learning make it possible for robots to carry out tasks that previously required human intellect. And this can be liberating. 

At the same time, these innovations also present new challenges to the human workforce. 

An image of a project manager of automated workforce.

What Percentage of Jobs Have Been Lost to Automation?

Automation is gradually reshaping the workplace. Each year, more and more medium-skilled manufacturing and office jobs disappear. 

Now:

Robots may not have taken over yet and may not be able to do so in the next few years. However, some industries are already experiencing the pressures of automation. Workers need to change occupational groups, acquire new skills, and expand their knowledge on important subjects to stay relevant in ever-changing times.  

Let’s learn more about the impact of automation on employment.  

1. 1.7 million jobs worldwide have been lost to automation since 2000.

(Source: Oxford Economics)

The world has lost a total of 1.7 million manufacturing jobs to industrial robots since 2000. Some of the regions that saw the highest number of cuts in human labor in the manufacturing sector include the US, the European Union, China, and South Korea.

2. The US has lost 260,000 jobs to robots. 

(Source: Oxford Economics)

Even in the US, the threat of automation is pervasive. Robots have taken over 260,000 jobs there since 2000, which represents 2% of the country’s current manufacturing workforce. 

3. 2.25 million robots have entered the workforce in the past two decades.

(Source: Oxford Economics)

The rate of adoption of robotization has tripled in the past 20 years, with 2.25 million robots currently replacing human labor in the global workforce. This figure is expected to increase significantly, reaching up to 20 million by 2030, as suggested in recent automation and job loss statistics. 

4. An average of 1.6 jobs has been displaced in the manufacturing sector. 

(Source: Oxford Economics)

Since 2004, each industrial robot that’s been installed in the manufacturing sector has displaced an average of 1.6 people. In the first year of a robot’s deployment, it displaces roughly 1.3 workers. This figure increases in succeeding years. 

As robots carry out the major tasks, only a few human employees are needed on the manufacturing floor. 

An image of a robot worker that is clicking on a virtual board.

What Percent of Jobs Are Automated?

As businesses invest billions in improving efficiency, nearly all occupational groups will be affected by artificial intelligence and automation in the future. The rest of us are often complicit in this job loss, without knowing it. 

Human workers used to perform such duties. However, shifting consumer needs have eliminated unskilled labor. 

5. 25% of mundane and repetitive jobs in the US face high risks of automation.  

(Source: Brookings)

In the US, the percentage of jobs at risk of automation is 25%. Approximately 36 million jobs face high risks of automation.

And that’s not all:

No single occupation will remain unaffected by technological breakthroughs, jobs lost to automation statistics tell us. However, jobs that entail routine activities, physical labor, and information collection or processing are very susceptible to automation. 

6. The US uses 189 robots in manufacturing per 10,000 workers. 

(Source: Oxford Economics)

In the manufacturing sector, US companies utilize nearly 200 robots per 10,000 workers. Additionally, the rate of adoption of robots has increased from 14% in 2011 to 40% in 2016.

How Many Jobs Are Being Lost to Automation?

There are several uncertainties around the rate of adoption of industrial robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. However, it’s possible to estimate the impact of automation.

Let’s dive right in:

7. Robots could replace 40% of the world’s jobs within 15 to 25 years.

(Source: CBS NEWS, 60 Minutes)

In an interview with Scott Pelley, artificial intelligence expert Kai-Fu Lee suggested that robots could take close to half of the world’s jobs

8. A 2017 McKinsey Global Institute study projected that there could be 375 million jobs lost to automation by 2030.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

A McKinsey Global Institute study in 2017 showed that anywhere between 75 million and 375 million workers could be replaced by robots in the coming years. In other words, 3% to 14% of the global workforce faces high risks of unemployment. 

That’s huge! 

An image of a woman working in an automated factory.

These people will have to change occupations, while others must learn new skills to remain relevant in the evolving job market. 

9. McKinsey Global Institute suggests 73 million workers face automation job displacement.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

McKinsey Global Institute suggests that as much as 33% of the 2030 workforce may have to pursue new professions in different sectors. 

What’s more:

About 39 million jobs could be displaced if we see midpoint automation. Of that number, 13 million to 16 million workers would have to find new jobs. If rapid automation occurs, the world could have an incredible 73 million jobs lost to automation by 2030. In this case, around 48 million to 53 million workers will be forced to change occupations.

10. 1.5 million jobs in England are in danger of being automated.

(Source: Office for National Statistics)

The UK Office for National Statistics surveyed over 20 million people in England and found out that 7.4% of occupations are at high risk of automation. That’s a total of 1.5 million jobs, as indicated in its recent automation and job loss statistics. 

It’s not all bad news:

The number of jobs facing high risks of automation actually decreased from 2011 to 2017. However, the number of professions facing low and medium risks rose within that period. 

An image of a robot typing on a laptop.

What Jobs Are at Risk of Automation?

Research shows that a quarter of US jobs are at high risk of being automated. So, what professions are the most at risk of automation? Read on to find out.

11. High-risk professions in production have 70% to 100% automation potential.

(Source: Brookings)

Professions that are most likely to be automated involve mundane and repetitive tasks. For instance, jobs that require physical labor, machine operation, food preparation, data collection, and data processing have 70% to 100% automation potential.

According to automation jobs loss statistics, filling machine and plant operators are some of the most vulnerable in this sector.  

12. 100% of logging equipment operators’ tasks can be automated.

(Source: Brookings)

The agriculture sector in general may not face the same level of threats as the production, food services, and transportation sectors. However, a few of the occupations in this industry face high risks of automation. Logging equipment operators face the highest risks, with 100% automation potential. 

13. Administrative jobs at risk of automation include mail clerks, mail machine operators, and office machine operators. 

(Source: Brookings)

Mail clerks and mail machine operators face the highest risks with 93.7% of their jobs susceptible to automation. Around 92.9% of the duties of office machine operators and 90.4% of the responsibilities of word processors and typists can potentially be automated in the next few years.

What Jobs Are at Risk of Being Lost to Robots?

Risks of automation vary across different industries and occupations.

14. Food preparation workers are the most vulnerable in the food service industry, as they face a 91.4% automation potential. 

(Source: Brookings)

Food service is also susceptible to automation, with occupations facing 70% to 100% automation potential. Food preparation workers are the most vulnerable in the sector, facing a 91.4% automation potential. Short order cooks come a close second, with 91.2% of their responsibilities facing automation risk level.

15. 100% of the tasks of dredge operators, machine feeders, and offbearers are susceptible to automation.

(Source: Brookings)

Transportation also faces high risks of automation. Different occupations face varying risk levels, but none are as high as the threats that dredge operators, machine feeders, and off bearersface, with 100% of their activities being susceptible to automation. 

An image of a man holding a virtual light bulb.

What Jobs Will Be Automated by 2030? 

Assuming that investments in automation continue at their current pace, millions of jobs could be displaced by robotization in the years to come. Cloud computing statistics suggest that it will continue to mature, alongside AI and machine learning. With their advancement, the risks of robots taking over the human workforce become increasingly urgent. 

But wait:

Not all professions will experience the same levels of displacement.

So here comes the question: 

What jobs could be automated by 2030?

Let’s find out: 

16. Some occupations in unpredictable environments have a high probability of jobs lost due to technology.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

A few professions set in unpredictable environments face higher risks of automation. Machinery installation and repair workers have a greater probability of being displaced compared to agricultural field workers and building and ground cleaners. 

Key takeaway:

By 2030, machinery installation and repair workers and emergency first responders could experience an employment decline due to automation.

17. Professions in predictable environments have a high probability of automation and job loss.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

Most, if not all, of the jobs in predictable environments, will be automated by 2030. Food preparation workers are the most vulnerable in the occupation group, as they face a 35% employment decline.  

An image of a robot and a man combining two pieces of a puzzle.

18. Office support professions could also be automated by 2030.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

Due to automation, financial workers could face a 25% to 34% employment decline by 2030. Meanwhile, computer support workers and administrative assistants could experience a 5% to 14% decline.

Is Accounting at Risk of Automation?

Finance departments are exploring automation options as much as any other sector. As artificial intelligence advances, robots will be coming for jobs that require human intellect as well. 

Is accounting one of those jobs? 

Well:  

19. Accountants, bookkeepers, and auditing clerks face 85.6% automation potential.

(Source: Brookings)

In the world of accounting, how many jobs will be lost to automation?

According to Brookings, auditing and accounting clerks and bookkeepers are susceptible to automation. Their jobs have an 85.6% chance of being automated.

But not everyone agrees:

20. McKinsey Global Institute expects accounting to see an increase in labor demand.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

McKinsey Global Institute has a different forecast, predicting that accountants will be one of several professions to see growth in the US due to automation.

What Jobs Are Least Likely to Be Automated?

There’s no doubt that the rise of robots will lead to job loss across many industries, leaving millions of workers displaced. 

However: 

The current limitations of technology will spare other professions. In fact, automation will lead to growth in labor demand in certain sectors. 

Learn more about the professions that are least likely to be affected by automation.

21. Doctors, health technicians, and therapists are less likely to have their jobs lost to automation. 

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

The roles of care providers are so unique and important that they won’t be replaced by robots anytime soon. By 2030, the labor demand for doctors, health technicians, and therapists might even increase by 5% to 24%. 

An image of a man with a tablet working in a factory with robot workers.

22. The labor demand for childcare workers is expected to increase by 100% or more.

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

Of all care providers, childcare professionals are most likely to experience employment growth by 2030. A recent study of workforce automation and jobs projects a 100% or more increase in labor demand for childcare workers in the coming years.

23. Teachers and other education professionals should experience a 5% to 24% increase in labor demand. 

(Source: McKinsey Global Institute)

According to the latest jobs lost to automation statistics, educators won’t be replaced by robots anytime soon. As a matter of fact, there will be an increase in demand for teachers, education support workers, and other education professionals in the next few years. 

Does Automation Create More Jobs?

Each leap in artificial intelligence, robotics, and other burgeoning technologies threatens the jobs of millions of human workers. At the same time, they create new opportunities in yet-to-exist industries. The value these innovations bring might even be enough to offset the disruptive changes they bring. 

Read on to discover the benefits of automation.

24. AI will produce 2.3 million jobs in the US in 2020.

(Source: Gartner)

Great news:

Research firm Gartner forecasts that artificial intelligence will create more job opportunities for human workers that it’s expected to eradicate. 

So, how many jobs will be lost to AI?

According to Gartner, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs. However, it will generate 2.3 million jobs starting in 2020. 

25. Automation will generate 133 million jobs worldwide by 2022.

(Source: World Economic Forum)

A World Economic Forum study suggests that automation will displace tens of millions of jobs worldwide; however, it will also generate hundreds of millions more. So, about 133 million jobs will be produced worldwide thanks to advances in technology. Meanwhile, job loss due to automation will amount to 75 million by 2022.

26. 29% of jobs worldwide will be replaced, while only 13% will be generated.

(Source: Forrester)

Forrester forecasts that the global workforce will lose 29% of jobs to automation while generating 13% of jobs. Considering how many jobs will be automated, the need for workers to be lifelong learners who can adapt to the ever-changing landscape of business is more pressing than ever.

In Conclusion

Automation is a powerful disruptive force that’s already reshaping society as we know it. It’s changing the way the economy operates as well as the jobs that people do. Although robotics and artificial intelligence can cause a worldwide crisis due to widespread job loss, these innovations also provide excellent opportunities to improve our quality of life.

Bottom line:

As recent jobs lost to automation statistics show, technology also creates new opportunities. Innovation could lead to new jobs and offset the negative impacts of automation.

Have a great day, guys!

See you around!

Resources:

  1. Oxford Economics
  2. Oxford Economics
  3. Oxford Economics
  4. Oxford Economics
  5. Brookings
  6. Oxford Economics
  7. CBS News
  8. McKinsey Global Institute
  9. McKinsey Global Institute
  10. Office for National Statistics
  11. Brookings
  12. Brookings
  13. Brookings
  14. Brookings
  15. Brookings
  16. McKinsey Global Institute
  17. McKinsey Global Institute
  18. McKinsey Global Institute
  19. Brookings
  20. McKinsey Global Institute
  21. McKinsey Global Institute
  22. McKinsey Global Institute
  23. McKinsey Global Institute
  24. Gartner
  25. World Economic Forum
  26. Forrester

 

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