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Rise of the machines sees human workers go from brawn to brains

By Staff Reporter

Published 16/09/2015

Motor manufacturing is an area dominated by automation
Motor manufacturing is an area dominated by automation

Growing numbers of jobs in Northern Ireland are being automated - where the work done by humans is instead done by machines - but the jobs market is not suffering damage as a result, research has claimed.

Deloitte found that there were 300,000 jobs at high risk of automation in Northern Ireland - but that since 2001 there were more jobs available which did not face the risk of automation.

The firm analysed Office of National Statistics (ONS) labour force survey data from 2001 to 2015, and matched changes in employment in what it considered to be jobs at low risk, medium risk and high risk of automation.

Deloitte's research found that Northern Ireland currently has 300,000 jobs in the high risk category, a fall of 8.7% since 2001.

But a further 500,000 jobs were ranked as being at low or medium risk of automation.

The low-risk, high-skilled occupations that grew the most from 2001 to 2015 in Northern Ireland, were beauticians and related occupations, air-conditioning and refrigeration engineers, and sports coaches, instructors and officials.

And the jobs that faced a high risk of automation were sewing machinists, industrial cleaning process occupations and painters and decorators.

Jackie Henry, Deloitte's senior NI partner said: "Our work shows the automation of jobs - and a shift from brawn to brains - is well under way in Northern Ireland, but we appear to be benefiting, not losing out.

"In line with the advances in technology and automation we expect to see in the next 20 years, high-risk, routine occupations are being replaced in our local economy.

"But at the same time, we are seeing good growth in those jobs at less risk of automation, as well as increased economic value."

Belfast Telegraph

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