Two-fifths of Irish Jobs are threatened by Robots

Due to the increased level of automation, two out of every five jobs in Ireland will disappear or undergo major changes in the next 20 years.

Robots, IT and artificial intelligence are constantly entering the workplace, leaving only a select range of work with low acceptance risk.

The think tanks say that automation is more likely to affect employment in manufacturing and agriculture, but some service sectors such as postal and courier services, land transport and food services are also considered to be highly vulnerable.

Employees who are most likely to find themselves or their skills outdated, work in administration, which is about one-fifth of positions.

Also at high risk are people engaged in transportation, warehousing, retail, construction and agriculture, and other jobs that are often considered manual, such as forestry, fisheries, cleaning and food preparation.

The forecast comes from the government’s economic policy department, which uses two international models to measure the impact of automation and apply it to Ireland.

They differ in that one put a higher proportion of jobs in the high-risk category, a lower proportion of jobs in the important risk category, while the other is the opposite, but adding the two categories together in each model, and the results are very similar.

The report shows, “Both models suggest that on average, two of every five jobs is likely to be substantially impacted by automation.”

Both models believe that Dublin and the Mid-East regions are least at risk from automation, while border and southeast regions are the most threatened.

Although the regional differences are very narrow, the report warns: “The Border and South-East regions already have weaker labour markets which means they will likely be less capable of adapting to automation than regions with more robust and diverse labour markets.”

The level of education in the workforce is also a factor in the two models, and degree or postgraduate qualifications are the best protection against automation.

According to the report, “ Investment in higher education will be an important part of the response,” and added that lifelong education will become increasingly important in helping workers adapt.

Automation has been used in many workplaces, where robots are used in the factory to replace manual fitters, sensors that enable high levels of self-service in stores, or software that analyzes data and language without manual calculation or translation.

Auto-driving cars are also increasing, artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly evolving, and the ability to enter the workplace, reading the situation, expressions and emotions is no longer just a human trait.

Michelle Li
Michelle Li

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