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A press officer poses with Pepper the Humanoid Robot at the World of Me Store of the near future installation in London
Image: A press officer poses with Pepper the Humanoid Robot at the World of Me Store of the near future installation in London. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Robots could take over one third of jobs in London

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Image: A press officer poses with Pepper the Humanoid Robot at the World of Me Store of the near future installation in London. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Almost third of London’s jobs have high potential to be taken over by machines, according to new research from think tank Centre of London.

According to the think tank’s report dubbed Human Capital: Disruption, opportunity and resilience in London’s workforce, London’s economy is likely to be shaken up because of the growth of automation, Brexit and wage pressures.

Low-skilled, highest affected

It said that the impact is likely to be highest for low-and medium-skilled workers, particularly in sectors such as wholesale and retail, transportation and storage, and accommodation and food. The Centre for London calculated that 33 percent of jobs had ‘high’ potential for automation, 19 percent had ‘medium’ potential and 48 percent had ‘low’ potential.

However, despite the gloomy prediction, the think tank suggested that London’s economy and its workers are well-placed to adapt to the changing nature of work, compared to the rest of the UK. It said this was down to high skill levels with London’s workers better qualified than the UK average (53 percent have a degree compared to 31 percent in the rest of the UK).

It also said strong specialist sectors in the capital are relatively resilient to automation because of the creative and social intelligence skills required, and that new jobs in certain sectors such as finance, IT, education, manufacturing and health will “stand the capital in good stead”.

Policymakers to adapt

However, the authors of the report suggested that policymakers need to think – and act – now to respond appropriately. This means incorporating the right skills and life lessons from school age onwards to ensure that Londoners have the creative, social and learning skills to adapt and thrive in a period of rapid change.

A sharper focus on cognitive skills, but also creative, problem solving and social skills, will be required to enable Londoners to benefit from these opportunities, the report said, adding that businesses were already redesigning their business models. and that it was time for policymakers to do the same.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.