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While the study suggests that some countries and employers may be tempted to raise wages to keep valued workers, the fight for bigger paychecks has already pushed US companies like CaliBurger to switch to a fully automated kitchen staff.

Over the past three to four decades manufacturing and assembly jobs have been increasingly automated, while occupations that involve in-person service, such as restaurant and maintenance workers, have expanded.

According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, 400 to 800 million people could lose their jobs to automation or robot replacements by 2030.

In the US, it seems it's the middle has a higher value of fear, with office commissioners and construction equipment operators among those who may lose their jobs to technology or see their wages go lower to keep them competitive with robots and automated systems.

As a result, the firm's calculated scenarios suggest that anywhere between 75mn and 375mn workers (3% to 14% of the global workforce) will have to change occupation by 2030, with automated alternatives likely to either completely or partially displace many jobs. For example, any job that involves managing people, applying expertise and social interaction will still be necessary, human performance in those areas can't be matched by a machine.

In the short term, automation and new technology could mean "significant" displacement of workers, the report says. And the authors of the study express confidence that, as in the past, new jobs will arise to "more than offset" those that are eliminated.

A rising middle class in countries like China and India, and with it more consumption, will have a big impact on the direction of economies. And McKinsey researchers expect aging populations to need more medical care - more doctors, nurses, home health workers and aides - while demand goes down for children's teachers and doctors.

However, the report emphasises that it doesn't see automation leading to large-scale unemployment.


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