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Business services sector jobs at risk of automation, Deloitte warns

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MORE than a quarter of jobs in the business services sector are at high risk of automation in the next 20 years, according to a report by Deloitte.

This is largely a result of the falling cost of technology combined with the rising cost of labour, the firm said.

Of the 3.3 million jobs currently classed as business services, 800,000 to one million have a high chance of being automated.

In addition, almost half of business services jobs are at low risk of automation (45%) with the remainder in the medium risk category.

Simon Barnes, financial transformation partner at Deloitte, said: “We expect the pace of automation to increase exponentially over the next few decades. Business services companies need to consider the full potential of intelligent automation, both as a way of improving operational efficiency and quality standards, and in order to innovate to remain competitive.”

Automation

According to Deloitte’s analysis, rising labour costs, in part due to the recent introduction of the National Living Wage, higher costs, price competition and their impact on margins are likely to lead to a renewed focus on productivity and efficiency in the sector.

Barnes said: “The business services workforce in the UK will fundamentally change over the next ten to 20 years. Repetitive and highly structured job roles are likely to be reduced, while new, higher-skilled roles will be created. As automation becomes increasingly more cognitive and less robotic, the business services sector must move fast to make sure they recruit and retrain people with the right skills and knowledge to address this.”

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