19 Statistics About Jobs Lost to Automation and The Future of Employment in 2021

In 2021, approximately 3 million robots roam around our factories, doing the heavy-lifting for us.

From an efficiency perspective, that’s no doubt a good thing.

But the image of a never-tired and always precise machine doing everything much faster does raise a question in our minds:

Will My Job Be Automated?

You’re right to wonder if that applies to you if you hold a clerical job. Or if you work on a production line, repetitively doing essentially the same simple task.

It’s time to dive into the jobs lost to robots statistics.

Fascinating Stats and Facts on Jobs Lost To Automation

  • As many as 30% of jobs will be replaced by automation, especially the boring and repetitive ones.
  • 1.5 million people in England are at high risk of losing their jobs to automation, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
  • We’re at risk of losing 375 million jobs worldwide by 2030.
  • 14 to 80 million U.S. jobs are at risk of being automated.
  • The Brookings Institution estimated that 36 million workers will lose their jobs because of AI.
  • World Economic Forum says machines will create 58 million new jobs.

Let’s look closely at the numbers first, and then decide if you need to be considering options.

Eye-Opening Jobs Lost to Automation Statistics for 2021

Those working in the food preparation sector should worry. Or so the automation statistics for 2021 tell us.

Wanna know more?

Read on!

1. Jobs lost to automation stats in 2021 show that up to 800 million roles could be phased out.

(Source: BBC News)

In more wealthy nations like the US or Germany where up to one-third of the workforce would need to re-train for other roles. For other countries, it’s one-fifth.

2. Manufacturing jobs since 1980 have declined by 3%, while production grew by almost 20%.

(Source: Business Insider)

Stats show that the number of manufacturing roles stagnated between 1970 and 2000, then began to steadily decline. Interestingly, production has increased in this time, indicating that automation is improving efficiency.

3. The number of jobs lost to automation by 2030 in the US is set to reach 73 million.

(Source: Forbes)

Data showed that as many as 73 million jobs could be lost in the US due to automation. This figure fares better for certain countries like Germany, where only 17 million jobs will be lost. Contrastingly, China will be the worst hit, with the loss of 236 million jobs.

4. At over 60%, food preparation is one of the jobs at most risk of automation.

(Source: The Economist)

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Other jobs subject to automation include construction, with just under 60% of jobs expected to be lost to automation. Cleaning is another, as well as driving.

5. 14 million robots could exist in China, making it the highest country for manufacturing automation.

(Source: BBC News)

One of the countries where jobs affected by automation are highest could very well be China. In fact, it is the country that has experienced the highest level of manufacturing14 million robots now exist along its production lines. 

General Statistics About Jobs and Automation

Technology is slowly taking over jobs – statistics say as much. Here’s the current state of affairs.

6. We see a 14% increase in industrial robot jobs annually.

(Source: International Federation of Robotics)

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) predicts that the growth of industrial robot jobs will accelerate on average by 14% every year between 2019 and 2021.

Accounting for:

10%  growth in Europe

13% growth in the Americas

And

16% growth in Asia

7. In 2020, the number of industrial robots operating in factories was 2.7 million. 

(Source: IFR, Automation.com)

Automation stats 2020 show that the robotics industry was hit especially hard in 2019 and 2020 as a result of COVID19

Experts expect a swift recovery, however, predicting a 9.2% growth in revenue and a 9.6% increase in shipment terms by the end of 2021. 

8. The global medical robots market is expected to reach $12.6 billion by 2023

(Source: IFR)

Some automation creates jobs. So, with the increase in sales of medical robots, you can expect an increase in the demand for skilled workers to operate the robots.

9. 26% GDP growth in China and a 14% boost of GDP in North America by 2030.

(Source: PwC)

PwC estimates that in both China and North America, AI will have a significant impact on the GDP. The two countries will account for a total of $10.7 trillion or almost 70% of the global automation economy expansion (estimated to be $15,7 trillion, by 2030).

The financial implications automation will have globally, will likely be due to the increased productivity, projected to result in $6.6 trillion and consumption-side effects such as attractiveness, personalization, and affordability, evaluated on $9.1 trillion. 

The expansion comes with the prediction that:

10. By the mid-2030s, up to 30% of jobs could be automatable.

(Source: PwC)

This PwC analysis gathers data from 29 countries. Divided into three waves of impact, we should expect ai unemployment to hit women in the financial service sector first. Here, automation can reach up to 30%. 

But:

While by 2030 the financial sector will stabilize, up until then men at transport-related jobs will experience the long term effects of AI – with a displacement rate of up to 50%

Furthermore, Oxford Economics found that:

11. 20 million manufacturing jobs will be lost to automation by 2030.

(Source: Oxford Economics)

The study stresses that if the current rate of technology adoption continues, we can expect many manufacturing jobs to disappear from the job market altogether. 

Another analysis by PwC found that:

12. 37% of workers worry they’ll lose their job due to automation. 

(Source: PwC)

There are clear indications thаt the employment market is changing. Its pace is even exceeding expectations, and many of the concerns people have regarding their employment seem reasonable.

One thing is certain:

AI Is Replacing Jobs

And there are groups of people who are more vulnerable to the approaching transformation of the labor market.

Besides the sectors mentioned above – generally, people with lower levels of education will be more likely to have to switch jobs. Higher-educated employees tend to adapt more easily to technological changes, which will allow more of them to remain in the same line of work. 

Also, better-educated people are involved in senior managerial roles – we still need human judgment and supervision, so their jobs are least likely to be automated.

A Brookings Institution report adds to the list of big bad numbers, stating that:

13. Around 36 million Americans are at jobs threatened by automation.

(Source: Brooking Institution)

Up to 70% of their tasks can be performed by machines using current technology. 

Cooks, waiters, and other employees in food services; short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers are among those with jobs most at risk of automation.

PwC states that:

14. Above 40% of workers with low-level of education will suffer displacement by 2030, compared to 10% of workers with high-level education.

(Source: PwC)

It seems unfair, but history shows the usual victim is always the ordinary man and this scenario is no different. 

BBC adds to the blow by reporting that:

15. About 61% of UK jobs furloughed in the first half of 2020 were in sectors where automation is most likely to lead to job losses.

(Source: The Guardian)

Up to 9.6 million UK workers, especially in the hospitality, leisure, and retail industries were let go from their jobs as a result of the COVID19 pandemic in 2020. 

According to the ONS, 5.9 million of these furloughed workers were in sectors and jobs most at risk of automation takeovers.

Could a Machine Do Your Job?

The answer in many cases is a resounding “yes”.

Especially if you’re working in any of the vulnerable sectors such as:

  •  administration
  •  financial services
  •  transportation or construction
  •  hospitality

Or, basically, everything.

But jokes aside…

There seem to be people who underestimate how much their job is at risk of automation, according to a CreaditLoan survey. It showed how expectations deviate from forecasts.

CreditLoan gathered data, showing that:

16. 54% of people are convinced their job is safe, while the actual estimation showed automation won’t impact only 3,6% of the jobs. 

(Source: CreditLoan)

Undeniably.

There are certain occupations that will become extinct in the clash between automation and jobs performed by humans. 

Still, some argue that:

Technological advancement will create many more jobs to make up for the created unemployment. 

A report by the World Economic Forum says that:

17. Artificial Intelligence will create 58 million new jobs by 2022.

(Source: World Economic Forum)

The report predicts that although the shift to automation might mean the loss of some 75 million jobs, there’ll be 133 million new jobs created as a direct consequence of the added machine workforce. 

It turns out that:

Automation Creates Jobs

Not long ago the rapid adaptation of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) had a similar effect on the labor market.

While the bank tellers per bank office decreased, the ATMs lowered the costs of opening new offices and the number of offices started increasing

This, eventually, led to banks hiring even more employees, including bank tellers. 

There was a change, however, and automation impacted bank tellers’ jobs.

They started focusing more on customer relations, as their routine tasks became automated

18. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) will create as many jobs in the UK as it will displace over the next 20 years.”

(Source: BBC)

AI would boost economic growth by creating new job roles, while simultaneously rendering other jobs obsolete

According to the report, in the UK, about seven million existing jobs could be displaced by AI between 2017 – 2037. However, around 7.2 million new jobs will appear in the process. 

There will obviously be winning and losing industry sectors as a result. Jobs in sectors like health, education, scientific and technical services are set to benefit disproportionately. 

On the other hand, jobs in sectors like manufacturing, transport and storage, and public administration could suffer critically

Admittedly, these are some pretty scary jobs lost to automation stats.

We know what your burning question is.

Will my job be automated?

The report also states that this fourth industrial revolution is likely to favor those with strong digital skills, creativity, and teamwork capabilities. This is because these are skills that machines would find hard to replicate.

19. By 2022, the total task hours completed by humans will drop to 58%.

(Source: CNBC)

Jobs lost to automation statistics reveal that, in 2018, about 71% of total task hours were being completed by humans, while  29% was being completed by machines

Studies, however, have shown that the current automation of jobs trend is shifting this task distribution

In just a year, it is likely that humans will be completing 58% of task hours, while machines will take care of the other 42%.

20. Around 70% of workers believe that automation will offer them an opportunity to qualify for more highly skilled work.

(Source: Mantu)

Although nearly a third of workers worry that they are in jobs most at risk of automation, some others have decided to remain optimistic. 

Out of 7000 surveyed workers, 70% expressed hope for the future. They believe that automation will present them with a unique opportunity to qualify for more highly skilled work.

All About Those Soft Skills: Future Job Augmentation

Experts predict that the employment of the future will revolve around skills our robot fellows don’t have the capacity to pull off… yet (and some believe if they ever do humans are doomed). 

As technology starts taking over jobs, we’ll have to start looking for ways to adapt to the new labor environment.

It’s true that:

Scientists have made some significant progress in AI development in recent years. 

They’ve been able to make machines that perform meaningful tasks even outside the assembly line. They’ve also been able to produce remarkable results in pattern recognition and pattern generation.

But, it’s early to speculate whether “the robots are out to get us all”.

Occupations involving human touch or soft skills are an option for those of us with jobs at risk of automation. 

The Jobs of the Future

As mentioned above jobs in sectors where human care and understanding are needed will start becoming more important as automation spreads. 

Healthcare

Care for our seniors (Basically, you and me in the not-so-distant future. There, I said it.) is one of the areas AI won’t have as a significant impact as elsewhere. 

With the global population steadily aging, it’s estimated that by 2030 there will be at least 300 million more people above the age of 65 than there were in 2014.  

And that will affect the number of carers as it’s unlikely that their jobs will be eliminated by technology.

McKinsey Global Institute forecasts that:

Aging will create a noticeable demand for a range of occupations including doctors, nurses, and health technicians. And we’ll also see an increase in the number of nursing assistants and home health aides. 

Personal carers, in general, will become one of the most sought out jobs. The forecast expects growth by 50 million to 85 million jobs in the field.

Consumption, Driven by Emerging Economies

While the emerging economies will most significantly feel the wave of jobs that will be automated, it’s also projected that we’ll see an increase in consumption coming specifically from the new consumer classes of those economies. 

McKinsey reports growth of $23 trillion between 2015 and 2030.

The effect of the new consumers will affect the countries generating the income, but also in the countries, they’re importing goods from. 

Globally, experts believe this rise in consumption can create between 250 million and 280 million jobs. 

Education and healthcare will have leading positions. 

Forecasts paint a picture of automation and jobs going hand-in-hand. 

The Age of IT Professionals

McKinsey Global report continues with projections that spending on technology could grow by more than 50% between 2015 and 2030. They expect about half of that to come from information-technology services, which will create opportunities for job growth between 20 and 50 million globally

Architects and Engineers

Those two professions are also likely to see a rise in numbers. Depending on the way the investments in infrastructure and building are developing, the required specialists could very well grow between 80 and 200 million. 

Those technology taking over jobs statistics don’t look as frightening now, right?

But let’s add:

Climate Change and Renewable Energy

To mitigate the environmental changes we’re facing, we’ll need professionals engaged in the field of solar and wind technology. Based on the forecast of McKinsey Global, this might involved hiring workers tasked with manufacturing, construction, and installation jobs in that sector. 

Money in House Choirs

Another trend the research considers is the marketization of housework, which previously wasn’t part of the economic equation. Pushed by the growing percentage of the female workforce, jobs like childcare and education, cleaning, cooking, and gardening might see a rise of 50 to 90 million jobs.  

So it’s unsure that we’ll see artificial intelligence taking those jobs yet. 

The truth is:

Since the robots have started taking over (not like in “The Matrix”, though) we see a positive increase in productivity.

Economy Expansion

Automation can boost the global economy by 1.4% annually according to McKinsey

The research admits that automation will impact economic growth significantly and will propose the mechanization of up to 30% of the jobs globally by 2030. Still, researchers are confident this wouldn’t necessarily mean massive layoffs. 

It could rather propose a transition into new positions and responsibilities for the people with jobs with the highest chances of automation.

Reconciliation

The reality is that willingly or not, we will feel the effects of AI displacement. Job loss to automation is going to happen, and it’s a good thing.

And it’s up to us to decide whether we’ll see automation and future jobs as a challenge or an opportunity.

The future of jobs involves a complex, problem-solving attitude. That will certainly require continuous investment in our most valuable asset – our minds. 

But.

AI could aid more people in finding their “calling” in life. 

And if that involves base jumps, so be it. 

Adaptation is key and we all have no choice but to adapt to changes. 

So it’s important that we start preparing ourselves, individually and as societies, for the transition already set in motion. 

Some will be more vulnerable and will need help in reconciling with the new labor market, no doubt. 

Nonetheless…

Change comes without asking, so be ready and fear not those jobs lost to automation statistics. 

FAQ

What percentage of jobs have been lost to automation?

It’s difficult to say. But we do know that 25% of jobs in the US are at risk of being lost to automation in the future.

What jobs are being replaced by technology?
  • Factory workers, including on the assembly line
  • Drivers of trucks, taxis, and buses
  • Receptionists, phone operators, and telemarketers
  • Cashiers
  • Bank clerks and tellers
  • Warehouse, stockroom and packing staff
  • Pharmacy technicians
  • Researchers, analysts, and information gatherers
  • Reporters and journalists
  • Pilots
What percentage of jobs will be automated by 2030?

Up to 30% of globally worked hours could be automated by 2030, according to jobs lost to automation statistics.

Which field will grow in the future?

The ones likely to experience the greatest growth are business services (2.3%) health and education (1.5%) and transport and communication (1.2%).

ABOUT AUTHOR

I'm a work in progress. An amateur thinker, fascinated by the human mind. Avid hammocks supporter. Hammocks for every home! One curious creature on a crusade against the comfort zone. Currently exploring the ever-changing virtual world. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is 42.

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