Will robots take over Redbridge? Two out of five jobs in the borough could become automated

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:46 02 April 2019

Will almost half of jobs be carried out by Robots in Redbrigde?. Photo:PA

Will almost half of jobs be carried out by Robots in Redbrigde?. Photo:PA


More than two in every five jobs in Redbridge could be lost to automation in the future, new ONS data reveals.

Do you think automation will take over in Redbridge in the future? Picture: ArchantDo you think automation will take over in Redbridge in the future? Picture: Archant

Some 88,000 jobs in Redbridge, measured in 2017, could be partially or totally replaced by machines over the coming years.

That’s 41per cent of roles in the borough.

An ONS spokesman said: “It is not so much that robots are taking over, but that repetitive tasks can be carried out more quickly and efficiently by an algorithm or a machine.

“The risk of automation tends to be higher for lower-skilled roles for this reason.”

Geoff Hill, chairman of the Redbridge Chamber of Commerce, said there is bound to be a change to job roles as technology increases, however a “bigger threat to jobs in Redbridge” is the lack of space for businesses to develop.

“There are lots of businesses that start in Ilford - it is a very entrepreneurial borough,” he said.

“Business will get to a certain point, either from a bedroom or a garage, they will need to grow.

“There is a decreasing amount of space (in Redbridge). The planning presumption is that housing units take priority and commercial properties can be turned into housing units without a great deal of control.

“This squeezes the business in Redbridge and if they can’t grow here they move out of the borough.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says technology will replace some occupations but it will also bring new and more technical jobs.

Felicity Burch, the CBI’s director of innovation and digital, said technology is predominantly putting jobs held by women, and low-skilled occupations, at risk.

“The picture is complicated, as ONS’s own analysis shows that some of the roles most at risk of automation saw a boost in recent years,” she added.

“Furthermore, we know that the more businesses invest in new technology, the more likely they are to create new roles.

“If we are to capture the benefits, there are two fundamental things to get right – encouraging further investment and making sure that people have the digital skills they need to get the new jobs that the future will bring.”

People aged 20 to 24 are most likely to be at risk of having their job replaced, and low-skilled occupations, like waiting or shelf stacking, face the highest risk.

Jobs requiring higher qualifications, such as medical practitioners and higher education teachers, are less susceptible to computerisation.

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