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Industry 4.0 Technologies To Widen North-South Divide, Says Report

Findings Follows Irwin Mitchell’s ‘Go Fourth’ Manufacturing Report


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

A new report by The Centre for Cities estimates that by 2030, nine areas of the economy could lose more than 25% of jobs to automation and AI, with workers in shops, administration and warehouses predicted to be most at risk.

The Centre for Cities claims that in the next 12 years, more than three million jobs across Great Britain could be lost as robots and artificial intelligence technology becomes more widespread.

The report predicts places including Wakefield, Mansfield and Sunderland could lose almost a third of their current roles.

Economic hotspots with more higher-skilled jobs such as Oxford, Cambridge and Reading may also lose up to 15% of their current positions.

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said; "Automation and globalisation will bring huge opportunities, but there is also a real risk that many people and places will lose out.

"We need to reform the education system to give young people the skills to thrive in the future, and we also need greater investment in lifelong learning to help adults adapt to the changing labour market."

The report findings follow on from Irwin Mitchell’s ‘Go Fourth’ report which was published last year.

Irwin Mitchell’s in-depth study found that the increased use of ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies within UK factories will not have a significant impact on overall employment levels in the manufacturing sector, but will cause a significant swing towards higher skilled positions which will most likely be distributed in London.

The report forecasts that in the next four years, lower skill professions and administrative jobs will fall, whilst there will be a 12% increase in managers, directors and senior officials and a 7% rise for professional occupations.

It reveals that manufacturers in the East Midlands, Northern Ireland and Yorkshire employ the highest percentage of at-risk occupation groups, while London and the South East employ the least.

Expert Opinion
“This latest report highlights the significant impact that automation technologies will have on jobs.

“Our report found that despite one in three businesses thinking that Industry 4.0 will reduce employment in the next decade, aggregate employment levels will be stable until 2021. Similar to the Centre for Cities findings, we found that the distribution in terms of type of job and the location is set to change considerably and this could have major repercussions for a large number of businesses, particularly those in the North.”
Glenn Hayes, Partner