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A recent report on workers and technology for the Fabian Society and the Community trade union has found that millions are fearful of the future.

More than six million UK workers say they are worried that their jobs will be replaced by machines over the next decade.

The commission that released the report, chaired by Yvette Cooper, polled more than 1,000 people from across the country. It also found that 37% or 10 million workers are worried that their job will change for the worse over the next decade.

This is a growing fear as technology develops and things like automation and machine learning become the norm. If jobs are increasingly at risk this will put strain on the economy, cause social disruption and possibly inflate to the gap between the rich and poor.

Earlier this year, Sports Direct announced that 2,000 jobs were at risk as it moves to a new distribution centre that makes use of automation.

The Bank of England also warned that up to 15 million jobs could be under threat. The Centre for Cities thinktank estimated that workers in Wakefield, Mansfield and Sunderland were the most at risk of having their jobs replaced when compared to those in London and the south-east.

Those thought to be most at risk are those in lower-income and manual jobs. One suggestion that has been floated is the idea of a universal basic income to help the unemployed and those pushed out of work by technology.


Government support

The report urges the government and trade unions to provide more support for those with jobs at risk. However, most people said they did not believe the government or trade unions were making adequate preparations for these big workforce changes.

Only 10% of workers felt that the government was doing enough and only 16% said that the trade union in their workplace had made steps to ensure technology would not disrupt their working lives, but improve it instead.

The Fabian Society and Community commission aim to publish their full findings by early 2020 after extensive research into workplaces across the country.

Yvette Cooper said: “It’s vital that action is taken now to make sure technology creates new better jobs and that all workers benefit from new technology.

“We have to make sure that automation and the digital revolution don’t widen inequality and that everyone gets the help and support they need to get on. We need to ensure that automation is an opportunity and not a threat for British workers.”


Are you worried about your job or business in the face of new technology or are you more optimistic? Let us know your thoughts.

About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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