Back in the 1900s, most of America had its workforce on farms and just enough food was produced to feed a far less populous nation. Now, less than 2 percent of Americans work on farms, because technology has revolutionized the sector. Automation has taken over.
The same applies to plenty of sectors these days, particularly when manual labor is involved. Now, a new study has laid this reality bare. According to a study by management consultancy firm McKinsey, up to one-third of the American workforce (73 million people) may lose their jobs to automation by 2030.
In total, up to 800 million people around the world will find themselves out of work thanks to the advances of robotics. The wealthiest nations in the world are most at risk here.
Most countries affected will be able to replace the jobs that are lost, but it will take considerable effort. At least 375 million of those affected – about 14 percent of the planet’s workforce – will have to seek employment in completely different sectors.
The researchers point out that it’s not just unemployment that’s a concern here. Those lucky enough to still be working will have to adapt and evolve to make sure they’re still relevant “alongside increasingly capable machines.”
“Some of that adaptation will require higher educational attainment, or spending more time on activities that require social and emotional skills, creativity, high-level cognitive capabilities and other skills relatively hard to automate,” the report explains.