Shock report finds Robots have ALREADY replaced workers in UK jobs

  • Two thirds of the UK’s fastest declining professions chalked up to automation
  • Travel agents and translators on the decline, while nail technicians are a rising star
  • Adzuna study found the wider impact of automation, as predicted by widely reported Frey & Osborne study, is yet to take root.

Almost two thirds of the fastest declining job roles in the UK are dropping due to automation, according to a report released today by job search engine Adzuna.

Adzuna’s comprehensive report, entitled The Start Of The Curve, identified reasons behind the drop in popularity of the fastest declining roles around the UK, with 13 of the 20 steepest decliners seeing the effects of automation.

The in-depth study, which aims to quantify the impact to date of technological advancement and increasing automation on the UK job market, analysed over 79 million UK job adverts from the previous 2 years. This represents a near-comprehensive record of all vacancies advertised in the UK during this period.

The country’s fastest declining roles included pharmacy assistants, travel agents and translators. Illustrators and writers also featured in the ten fastest declining occupations, showcasing the impact of automation on creative industries.

On the other hand, nail technicians, retail security officers and full stack developers all featured in the 5 fastest growing professions in the UK, when it came to the number of vacancies being advertised.

Key drivers behind these growing roles are the increase in available disposable income, new technologies and rising demand for manual workers. 25% of the fastest rising roles can be attributed to changing technologies and their impact on the UK labour market.


James Neave, Head of Data Science at Adzuna, commented:

“Using Adzuna’s unique data assets has enabled us to complement recent studies exploring the effect of automation. Our white paper takes a different, data-driven approach by quantifying real observed trends in UK job vacancies in recent years.”


A Sector Study

On a sector level, the travel, engineering and creative and design industries showed some of the fastest declines, as technology changes the way both sectors operate.

On the other hand, roles in hospitality logistics, and social work featured in the top 5  fastest-growing industries.


Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, commented:

“The robots are not just coming, this study shows that they are here already, in our pockets, workplaces and homes. Automation could be set to replace some roles – like translators and travel agents – entirely. But, at least in the short term, automation and AI seem to be creating new jobs just as fast.


“We are seeing tech changing the shape of industries in more complex ways than previously predicted.  For example in the design and creative field, previously feted as “robot-proof”, we are seeing that software, and technological tools can help even the most creative of professionals automate tasks, find efficiencies in workflows, and change the way they work.“


“At the rate of change we see, we can certainly expect to be looking at a very different picture in 20 years time.”


Are Previous Predictions Coming True?

The study analysed recent job demand against the predictions made by Frey & Osborne in their widely reported 2013 paper ‘The Future of Employment’. Despite a significant shift in the types of advertised roles dominating the UK job market, the assertions made on which roles would face extinction with 10-20 years show no signs of becoming reality just yet.


Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, concluded:

“Our analysis found no correlation yet between these predictions and reality. However, it’s clear that technology is driving both the fastest decliners and risers, and this rate of change is only increasing. With the rise of computing power and artificial intelligence applications across many sectors (including jobseeking itself), we expect the coming years to bring massive change in the labour market.”  

Looking to The Future

The report concludes that as the pace of technology accelerates, an increase in roles declining due to automation and advances in AI is to be anticipated. At the same time demand for other jobs is expected to grow and even more new ways of flexible working will emerge, inclusive of the creation of brand new roles to support the growing wave of technical innovation.


James Neave, Head of Data Science at Adzuna, concluded:

“The wave of technological innovation is undoubtedly gathering momentum, and Adzuna analysis suggests this force could well be set to significantly change the shape of the UK job market by 2040. Although no-one has a crystal ball on this, it looks likely a substantial portion of all desk-based jobs will become automated within the next 25 years.”


Author: Editor

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