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-The 15 most at-risk of automation occupation groups, according to the ONS(1), are uninformed and ill-prepared for job loss, Nesta research shows

Monday 10 February 2020: The first UK survey of workers most at risk of losing their jobs due to automation(1) has found that two in three of those workers (68%) believe it is unlikely that their current job role will be automated in the next 10 years. The poll was commissioned by innovation foundation Nesta and conducted by YouGov.

UK workers need to know if their jobs are at risk of automation, but those at risk are currently unaware and woefully unprepared, the survey results show.

The world of work is changing rapidly. Six million people currently work in jobs that are likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030(2). This is partly due to automation, but workers will also have to contend with changes to the job market resulting from globalisation, population aging, urbanisation, and the rise of the green economy.

Workers at risk of automation include waiters and waitresses, shelf fillers, retail sales staff, farm workers and cleaners. Many of them do not have the right information about jobs, nor have accessed training that can prepare them for the future:

  • One in three (34%) have not had any formal training over the last five years
  • A further one in seven (14%) have had no formal training at all since leaving school or college
  • Nearly one in two (47%) are either not very aware or not at all aware of what jobs are available in their local area that they could apply for

Nesta is campaigning for both Government and employers to help workers for the future, by:

- making data on jobs and skills trends more available so that people can find information about what skills they are going to need

- tackling the barriers that stop people from learning such as lack of time, motivation and money, making it easier for people to take part in training

Many of the people most likely to be affected by automation are in low paid jobs and nearly half (46%) surveyed cited the financial cost of a training course/ programme as a barrier to gaining new skills.

These workers are in a precarious position, say Nesta. Without support to retrain and learn new skills, people risk losing their job -- potentially time and time again -- and employability as technology continues to evolve.

Ksenia Zheltoukhova, Director of Research Operations, Research Analysis and Policy, Nesta says “People need to know what their future holds, so they can take action to prepare. If some two thirds of the most at-risk workers don’t know the truth of their situation, something is broken. We have an opportunity now to harness technology so that automation of some jobs is accompanied by creation of better ones, and people need information and training to develop skills for these new jobs.”

Mike has lost a number of jobs because of automation, from bank clerk, to accounts for a magazine publisher. He has received little to no training to help him upskill or improve his job prospects. He believes there should be much more support provided by employers, charities and the government, “There are also people out there who can’t use a computer,” he says. “They can’t switch it on, let alone do everything online. There should be free workshops from social services or charities, to make sure that people aren’t left behind by automation.”




For more information contact Juliet Grant in Nesta’s press office on 020 7438 2668 or 07866 949047, [email protected] or [email protected]

Nesta_Press [email protected]

Notes to editor

About Nesta

Nesta is a global innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We've spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we've applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts. Nesta is based in the UK and supported by a financial endowment. We work with partners around the globe to bring bold ideas to life to change the world for good. | @nesta_uk

Some of Nesta’s work on jobs and skills

Open Jobs The Open Jobs programme is focused on helping individuals, organisations and governments take more informed labour market decisions through carrying out data-driven research, place-based experimentation and advocating for smarter labour market policies. We are working with national and local partners to open up and connect data on jobs and skills, and to develop methods, tools and platforms for addressing local challenges on skills, careers and jobs.

The CareerTech Challenge is a £5.75m partnership between Nesta and the Department for Education aiming to stimulate innovation in careers information, advice and guidance, and online training provision. The Prize will reward digital solutions that improve access to accurate, data driven career information, advice and guidance. The Fund will provide grant funding for innovative tech solutions which motivate people and support them to learn new skills and retrain.

FutureFit is a major training and research project led by Nesta and supported by in partnership with trade unions, researchers and adult learning experts from across the Nordics and Benelux region. Through innovative training interventions and robust research and evaluation about ‘what works’, the programme aims to empower workers with the skills they need for tomorrow and improve the wider adult learning system across Northern Europe.

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