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Future of Work in Ireland – Six groups with the largest number of persons employed whose jobs were at high risk of automation

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a seismic change in the way in which the labour market operates globally, with the fundamental relationship between the workplace and the workforce likely to be changed on a long-lasting
basis. The future world of work, in particular at occupational level, should see a continued embracing of practices being utilised recently such as automation, newly defined processes, flexible hours, flexible locations and
new skillsets.

As a small, open, dynamic economy, Ireland has the potential to be at the forefront of the opportunities and challenges of the future world of work and policy makers can enhance this evolution through incentives and initiatives for those within and outside the labour force.

Introduction

The focus of this report is an examination of occupations in
Ireland in terms of their level of automation risk.

The impact of automation is expected to result in an overall increase in the number of persons employed over time, but the type of jobs on offer are likely to change significantly.

In the short to medium term, to assist employers and employees facing automation risk, widespread government support will be required to promote innovation, flexibility and opportunities in the workplace. This report focuses on those in employment in occupations that are considered at high risk of automation in order to assist policy makers in where to direct upskilling and/or reskilling opportunities.

There has been extensive commentary about the displacement threat to workers posed by automation and the ensuing socio-economic implications. Internationally, fundamental work in this area was published by Frey & Osborne in 2013. Expert work by the OECD in 2018 further enhances the discussion around automation risk at an international level.

Within an Irish context, the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) have carried out a comprehensive assessment on the impact of automation in Ireland in 2018. The Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS have applied the analysis produced by IGEES on the OECD model to the CSO Labour Force Survey Quarter 4 2019 data, to identify occupations in Ireland in terms of their level of automation risk (for more detailed information on the methodology used see the Technical Note at the end of the report). The analysis in this report is based on the 16 occupational groups in the occupational employment profiles section of the National Skills Bulletin.

The report also provides details on the profile of the cohorts most likely to be affected by automation in terms of age, gender, nationality and the region of employment.

Overview

Ireland who were employed in occupations which were considered at high risk of automation. Of the 16 occupational groups, the six groups with the largest number of persons employed whose jobs were at high risk of automation
were; operatives & elementary, sales & customer service, administrative & secretarial, hospitality, agriculture & animal care and transport & logistics as shown in Figure 1. These groups combined account for two thirds (247,500) of the national total.

The impact of automation is likely to be much lower for those in occupational groups such as ICT, science & engineering, healthcare and education.

The individual occupations with the highest volumes of employment at high risk of automation were assemblers & routine operatives, process operatives, cleaners, warehouse operatives, drivers, farmers, kitchen & catering assistants, waiters, financial, government & other administrators, construction operatives and sales assistants.

Occupational groups – Top 6 by share of risk level

Of the top six occupational groups with the largest number of persons employed whose jobs were at high risk of automation, operatives & elementary occupations had the highest share (40%) with sales & customer service occupations having the lowest share (15%), as shown in Figure 2.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Future of jobs in Ireland: automation risk

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