40 Jobs Lost to Automation Statistics: 2022 Job Displacement Analysis
Business operations have been moving toward digital transformation for years now. But as the world embraces the advantages brought about by trends in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, we have also been moving farther away from traditional practices, including manual jobs.
The loss of employment has been exacerbated by the disruptions that came with COVID-19 since the beginning of 2020. But as the economy struggles to slowly recover, little hope remains for the reinstatement of several jobs. The reason behind this is the accelerated adoption of modern automation technologies, such as artificial intelligence software, in order for businesses to adapt to the new work environment.
The question, however, is what percentage of jobs have been lost to automation? In this article, we have gathered relevant jobs lost to automation statistics. The goal is not only to give you an overview of how many jobs were lost to automation but also to illustrate the shift in skill needed as new job roles emerge.
Jobs Lost to Automation Statistics Table of Contents
Before we delve into the current state of job displacement due to automation, let us first look back at that part of the pre-COVID-19 era, which depicted the same scenario. In 2017, McKinsey & Company released a report, which presented data-driven predictions of how automation could transform the workforce before 2030. Below are some of the relevant jobs lost to automation statistics revealed in the study.
By 2030, around 39 million Americans could lose their jobs due to the shift toward automation.
Nearly 50% of hours spent on work-related tasks could be automated by 2030 depending on the speed of adopting existing technologies.
Approximately 2,000 work-related activities across 800 professions have the potential to be automated.
Less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated within a decade.
81% of predictable physical work-related tasks could be automated by adopting existing automation technologies.
Mortgage origination in the US had the highest potential (88%) for automation technology to replace manual labor.
Jobs that require high school level education or less are more susceptible to being automated than occupations that require post-secondary and college or higher degrees.
At the time of the survey, 37% of workers were concerned about the possibility of losing employment due to automation.
More than 50% of jobs in the transportation and storage sectors are at risk of being automated by 2030—the highest potential job displacement rate across different industries.
On the other hand, jobs in the education sector will be the least affected by the adoption of automation technologies.
In a more recent report by the World Economic Forum on the future of jobs, it shows how automation adoption has not been disrupted by the global pandemic. Instead, utilizing modern technologies has been accelerated, and so as the plans to automate tasks and job roles in the next five years. Moreover, part of the reasons behind reducing the number of workers is the plan to go instead with contractors, which creates jobs lost to automation vs outsourcing scenario.
43% of employers are still set on cutting down on their workforce to make way for technology integration.
Meanwhile, 41% of employers plan instead to hire contractors to perform tasks that require specific skills.
Among the expectations of employers is to reduce the number of redundant roles by 6.4%.
By 2025, the estimated number of jobs that might be displaced due to automation and outsourcing is 85 million.
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Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Big data analytics: 89
Big data analytics
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies IoT and connected devices: 84
IoT and connected devices
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Encryption and cybersecurity: 84
Encryption and cybersecurity
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Cloud computing: 84
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Ecommerce and digital trade: 81
Ecommerce and digital trade
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Text, image, and voice procesing: 77
Text, image, and voice procesing
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Artificial intelligence: 76
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Power storage and generation: 66
Power storage and generation
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Augmented and virtual reality: 57
Augmented and virtual reality
Top 10 Technologies Being Adopted by Companies Distributed ledger technology (blockchain, etc.): 56
Distributed ledger technology (blockchain, etc.)
Source: World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs Report 2020
Job Displacement Statistics Across the World
Previously, we noted the 10 jobs that will not exist in 10 years. As businesses across industries transition to digital operations, many roles are being deemed redundant and are therefore at risk of being performed by machine learning technology and AI algorithms. But although the same trend is happening in different industries across the globe, the level of impact varies significantly by country.
For example, more than 40% of Eastern Europe’s economies are dominated by industrial production. Meanwhile, the United States’ economy, as well as the United Kingdom’s, are more services-centric. Between the workers from Eastern European countries, the US, and UK, workers from the former are more susceptible to job displacement as industrial production processes are easier to automate. Now, let us take a look at other relevant statistics below.
As of 2020, 36% of organizations worldwide agreed that AI technology will transform their business operations within one to three years. (Ammanath et al., 2020; Liu, 2020)
Meanwhile, in the US insurance industry, the accounting sector has the highest potential displacement rate (49%) by 2030 due to the adoption of automation technology. (Statista Research Department, 2020; McKinsey & Company, 2020)
In China, around 72 million jobs in the services sector are in danger of being replaced by AI and related technologies by 2037. (Statista Research Department, 2020)
Slovakia and Slovenia have the highest potential job automation rates (44% and 42%, respectively) across the 27 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. (PwC UK, n.d.)
Furthermore, Finland and South Korea have the lowest share of existing jobs that can potentially be automated (both at 22%). (PwC UK)
Demographics of Workers at Risk of Job Displacement from Automation
As we uncover more jobs lost to automation statistics, we also learn that age, gender, educational attainment, etc., can play a factor in determining which workers are more at risk of job displacement due to digitization and automation.
In the US, workers between the ages of 18 to 34 are the most affected by job displacement from automation. (Feldman, 2019)
By the late 2020s, nearly 25% of women workers are at risk of being displaced compared to more than 15% of men. (PwC UK)
Highly educated men and women have higher opportunities to work in sectors where they are less likely to be displaced due to technology integration. (PwC UK)
Men with a lower level of education are more at risk of automation than women with the same educational level (52% and 29%, respectively. (PwC UK)
Source: McKinsey Global Institute
The Impact of Coronavirus on Job Displacement from Automation
As if a large portion of the world’s population does not have to worry enough about the loss of employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, job recovery is also being threatened. According to a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), among the roles that can be displaced in the near future include data entry clerks; accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll clerks; administrative and executive secretaries; accountants and auditors; assembly and factory workers; and business services and administrative managers.
Around 85 million jobs can be displaced by 2025 as a new generation of smart machines takes over a larger portion of job roles. (World Economic Forum, 2020)
43% of businesses reveal that they are set to cut down on their workforce due to the integration of new technology. (World Economic Forum, 2020)
Almost 50% of the CEOs surveyed plan to significantly increase their long-term investment on digital transformation. (PwC, 2021)
Among the core goals of 36% of CEOs is to focus on technology and automation to boost productivity. (PwC, 2021)
In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), 36% of the jobs threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic are also at risk of being displaced because of automation adoption by 2030. (McKinsey & Company, 2020)
Still, in CEE, the wholesale and retail industry has the highest number of jobs (approximately 805,000) at risk of displacement due to COVID-19 and robotic process automation. (Sava, 2021; McKinsey & Company, 2020)
To alleviate the impact of job displacement from automation, employers and employees alike turn to online learning for upskilling and reskilling training.
Employers expect to offer reskilling and upskilling to 70% of their workforce by 2025.
40% of workers are estimated to require reskilling for a period of six months.
Despite employer’s desire to upskill or reskill more than half of their employees, only 42% will grab the opportunity to learn.
21% of businesses are able to utilize public funds for their employees’ reskilling and upskilling plans.
The interest in personal development courses has increased by 88% among workers who access government-supported LMS tools.
50% of workers who have been displaced are planned to be redeployed by their employers.
Reskilling and/or Upskilling Can Save Jobs
The unprecedented disruption brought by COVID-19 has only aggravated the situation of workers who are already threatened by the digitization and automation of work-related tasks. Hope, however, is not completely lost as there are ways for workers to either keep their roles or learn to perform a new one. Reskilling or upskilling workers is not a new trend, but the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has led businesses to realize that human capital investment is extremely valuable.
According to WEF’s 2020 report on the future of jobs, 40% of the core skills of workers are expected to change in the next five years. And while reskilling and/or upskilling is not 100% applicable to all workers in danger of getting displaced, it can help those who are qualified and are willing to train to adapt to the rapidly changing work environment. This practice, of course, is best done in tandem with the best learning management systems for business.
Ammanath, B., Hupfer, S., & Jarvis, D. (2020, July 14). Thriving in the era of pervasive AI. Deloitte Insights. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
Carey, K. (2021, March 31). Do not be alarmed by wild predictions of robots taking everyone’s jobs. Slate Magazine. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
Feldman, S. (2019, July 25). Infographic: Young people hold 40% of jobs set for displacement. Statista. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
Kande, M., & Sönmez, M. (2020, October 26). Don’t fear AI. The tech will lead to long-term job growth. World Economic Forum. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
Kelly, J. (2020, October 27). U.S. lost over 60 million jobs — Now robots, tech and artificial intelligence will take millions more. Forbes. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
Liu, S. (2020, July 27). Expected timeline when artificial intelligence (AI) will transform organizations and industries worldwide as of 2020. Statista. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
McKinsey & Company. (2020). Digital challenges in the next normal: Central and Eastern Europe on a path to digitally-led growth. McKinsey & Company.
McKinsey & Company. (2020, April). State of property & casualty insurance 2020: The reinvention imperative. McKinsey and Company.
PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2020). PwC’s global artificial intelligence study: Sizing the prize. PwC. PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2021). PwC 24th annual global CEO survey: A leadership agenda to take on tomorrow. PwC. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-agenda/ceosurvey/2021/report.html
PwC UK. (2018, February). Will robots really steal our jobs? An international analysis of the potential long-term impact of automation.PwC UK.
Sava, J. A. (2021, February 2). Number of jobs at risk of displacement from both COVID-19 and automation in Central and Easter Europe in 2020, by industry. Statista. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
Statista Research Department. (2020, November 5). Potential automation displacement rate of selected insurance jobs in the United States by 2030. Statista. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. Her decision to focus on these two industries was spurred by their explosive growth in the last decade, much of it she attributes to the emergence of disruptive technologies and the quick adoption by businesses that were quick to recognize their values to their organizations. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.
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