Women and part-timers most at risk, while supermarket checkout jobs fall by 25%
'About 1.5 million workers in Britain are at high risk of losing their jobs to automation, according to government estimates, with women and those in part-time work most affected.
Supermarket checkout assistants have already borne the brunt of the phenomenon, the Office for National Statistics found, with 25.3% of jobs disappearing between 2011 and 2017.
Some technology groups are already experimenting with retail outlets that will not require human-run checkouts or cashiers. Last year Amazon, which is expanding into grocery selling, opened a supermarket in Seattle with no checkout assistants, relying instead on sensors to track what shoppers removed from shelves, using “just walk out” technology to bill customers and end queues. Meanwhile McDonald’s is rapidly shifting to self-ordering kiosks in its restaurants, removing the need for customers to speak to workers at the counter.
Other jobs where automation has taken its toll include laundry workers, farm workers and tyre fitters, among which numbers have dropped by 15% or more, said the ONS, as machines have replaced labour.
Women are most likely to lose out, said the ONS. “The analysis showed a higher proportion of roles currently filled by women are at risk of automation; in 2017, 70.2% of high-risk jobs were held by women.”'
Read more: Automation threatens 1.5 million workers in Britain, says ONS