Repetitive IT jobs 'most at risk of automation'

More than a quarter of jobs in the business services sector, which includes telecoms and IT, are at ‘high risk’ of automation within the next two decades, an accountant calculates.

Deloitte said that by 2035 robots could replace up to 31% of the UK’s 3.3million jobs in business services, of which technology-related roles account for one of five its sub-sectors.

The declining cost of IT fused with the rising cost of labour is driving the trend of machines replacing humans, whose jobs are most at risk if they are “repetitive or highly structured.”

Business services jobs are therefore less exposed than other areas of the UK economy, where more than a third of jobs were said to be at ‘high risk’ of disappearing through automation.

But concern for candidates is an opportunity for employers. “Companies need to consider the full potential of intelligent automation,” said Deloitte partner Simon Barnes.

“[They should consider this] both as a way of improving operational efficiency and quality standards, and in order to innovate to remain competitive.”

Deloitte’s analysis shows that with labour costs set to rise for the next five years, partly thanks to the new National Living Wage, employers are set to focus more on productivity.

Risings costs, price competition and the impact on their margins will emphasise their need to focus on making their workforce more efficient, but also more accommodating to the most able.

“Repetitive and highly structured job roles are likely to be reduced, while new, higher-skilled roles will be created,” Mr Barnes said.

“As automation becomes increasingly more cognitive and less robotic, the business services sector must move fast to make sure they recruit and retrain people with the right skills and knowledge to address this.”

Jul 14, 2016