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Two out of every five jobs across Ireland at ‘high risk’ of automation

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 3:23pm

Are robots coming to take your job?

A new UCC report revealed that as many as two out of every five jobs across Ireland are at ‘high risk’ of automation.

The study - Automation in Irish Towns: Who’s Most at Risk? examines the impact of automation across urban areas in Ireland, and identifies towns where jobs are most at a high risk of automation, and towns where jobs are at a lower risk of automation.

In good news, no Cork towns were among the 10 ten towns identified as being at the highest risk due to automation. The top 10 towns that were at least risk of automation didn’t include any Cork towns either.

Jobs identified as being most at risk to automation include office, secretarial and administrative support positions, process plant operators, jobs in agriculture and customer service.

The jobs least at risk to being automated are in the areas of teaching and education, the arts, media and culture related positions, health and social care and research and development positions.

Dr Frank Crowley and Dr Justin Doran are the co-authors of the report. Dr Crowley, economist at the Spatial and Regional Economics Research Centre (SRERC) at Cork University Business School said: “Using 2016 Census data, we deployed an internationally recognised automation risk methodology with a method of analysis to ascertain what towns in Ireland will be most impacted by the rise of automation. The impact of automation in Ireland is going to be felt far and wide, with two out of every five jobs at high risk of automation.

“Our study finds that the likelihood of jobs in towns being automated is explained by population differences, by education levels, age demographics, the proportion of creative occupations in the town, town size and differences in the types of industries across towns.

“Our results suggest that the pattern of job risk from automation across Ireland demands policy that is not one size fits all, rather a localised, place-based, bottom up approach to policy intervention is needed in Ireland,” added Dr Crowley.

The analysis also found that there are also some concentrations of at lower risk towns and separately, concentrations of at higher risk towns.

Similarly, some at higher risk towns are adversely affected by being surrounded by clusters of towns also at higher risk of automation such as Fermoy and Bandon.

The report found wide differences between the average numbers of jobs at high risk of automation across towns, from a low of 26 per cent to a high of 58 per cent. In addition the analysis found that many at high risk towns have at low risk nearby towns and many at low risk towns have at high risk neighbours.

“The dominance of the city is a trend taking place right across the world. As cities become the dominant centre for economic activity, rural areas are being left behind, and these spatial differences have been credited with the rise of right wing political movements across the world,” Dr Crowley added.

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