Up to 800 million workers worldwide, equivalent to more than a fifth of today’s global labour force, will lose their jobs by 2030 and be replaced by robotic automation, according to a new report by McKinseyGlobal Institute. “We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world,” says the report, entitled “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions In A Time Of Automation.”
The report covering 46 nations and more than 800 occupations says machine operators, food workers and back-office employees will be hit hardest. The occupations less affected include plumbers, gardeners, childcare workers, and eldercare workers. Both developed and emerging countries will be impacted but poorer countries that have less money to invest in automation will not be affected as much.
The authors point out that workers in China are likely to be most affected by the switch to automation.
'In absolute terms, China faces the largest number of workers needing to switch occupations - up to 100 million if automation is adopted rapidly, or 12 percent of the 2030 workforce' it said.
And while the report suggests that new jobs will be available, it highlights that people may need to learn new skills to get them.'For advanced economies, the share of the workforce that may need to learn new skills and find work in new occupations is much higher: up to one-third of the 2030 workforce in the United States and Germany, and nearly half in Japan'.
According to McKinsey the world will see a transition on the scale of the early 1900s when much of global industry switched from farming to factory work. But they caution that new technology will yield new types of jobs, similar to the introduction of the personal computer in the 1980s which led to technology support work, and online business.
“Today there is a growing concern about whether there will be enough jobs for workers, given potential automation. History would suggest that such fears may be unfounded: over time, labor markets adjust to changes in demand for workers from technological disruptions, although at times with depressed real wages.”
McKinsey also estimates that rising incomes will lead to higher spending that could create as many as 365 million new jobs in the next 13 years.