Automation could replace 20 million factory jobs by 2030
As many as 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to an analysis by Oxford Economics.
The analysis firm has called for action to prevent a damaging increase in income inequality, urging policymakers and business leaders to think about how to develop workforce skills to adapt to increased automation.
Lower skilled regions, which tend to have weaker economies and higher unemployment, could have twice as many job losses due to robots, exacerbating economic inequality and political polarisation.
The analysis firm said that every new industrial robot wipes out, on average, 1.6 manufacturing jobs, with the least-skilled regions most affected.
People displaced from jobs in the manufacturing industry might also struggle to find comparable roles in the services sector, and it's the more repetitive jobs which are at higher risk of being wiped out.
However, the new analysis says that increased automation will boost jobs and economic growth on a global scale.
Jobs which require more compassion, creativity or social intelligence are likely to continue to be carried out "for decades to come" by humans, the analysis said.
Oxford Economics also estimated that if there was a 30 per cent rise in robot installations worldwide, it could add $5 trillion in additional global GDP.
The firm predicted that hundreds of thousands of jobs could be replaced in the UK by 2030 and that China will see the most manufacturing automation with 14 million robots.
At a global level, however, jobs will be created at the same rate at which they are destroyed.