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Automation Job Loss Statistics

Undoubtedly, digital transformation and automation drive tremendous productivity improvement in the workplace. However, due to rapid developments, many individuals and businesses are negatively influenced, with some positions and jobs entirely replaced by robots.

How will your job be affected?

Data shows that 30% of the workforce might lose their jobs by the mid-2030s due to automation.

The global industrial robot market was valued at $33.90 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $61.09 billion by 2026.

Robots were responsible for up to 670,000 lost jobs in the U.S. between 1990 and 2007.

South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Sweden are the world’s top five most automated countries.

Male workers are more likely than female workers to have high probability of automation employment by 2030, with a rate estimate of 34% vs. 26%.

What Is Job Automation?

Labor automation is the process of replacing human labor with technology to accomplish specific tasks or jobs. On the one hand, automation frequently produces as many employment opportunities as it eliminates over time. Workers who can use machines are more productive than those who cannot. Machines contribute to lowering the costs and prices of goods and services, making customers spend more. Ultimately, these sales result in the creation of new jobs.

Prediction of automated jobs

On the other hand, some workers lose out, particularly those who are immediately displaced by robots and must now compete with them. A recent report predicts that 25% more workers than previously estimated will need to find new jobs by 2030 due to factors such as automation, e-commerce, and remote work.

Further data support the development of this trend by stating that, by the mid-2030s, 30% of jobs have the potential to get automated across territories.

The global industrial robot market was valued at $33.90 billion in 2021
and is expected to reach $61.09 billion by 2026.

Projected Global Industrial Robot Market Growth

Manufacturing tops the list of the first industries to deploy robots on a larger scale in recent years. The deployment comes as a result of industrial robotics’ help in increasing productivity and efficiency by lowering manufacturing costs and the overall purchase price of products.

How Many Jobs Have Been Automated?

USA job automation image

Job automation, at this point, is growing and shows no signs of stopping. Data shows that in the U.S., robots were responsible for up to 670,000 lost jobs between 1990 and 2007, and that number is expected to rise as the stock of industrial robots will quadruple.

For every robot added per 1,000 workers

Further data support the negative impact by showing us that for every robot added per 1,000 workers in the U.S., wages decline by 0.42%, and the employment to population ratio goes down by 0.2 percentage points.

Robot density nearly doubled globally

The use of industrial robots in factories is rapidly increasing worldwide. According to World Robot Report 2021, the global average robot density in manufacturing is 126 robots per 10,000 employees, nearly double the number five years ago (2015: 66 units).

robot density by country

The average robot quantity in Asia/Australia is 134 units, 123 units in Europe, and 111 in the Americas. South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Sweden are the world’s top five most automated countries.

Robot density in the manufacturing industry 2020

Robot density worldwide averages 126 units.

Risk of Jobs Automatability in the U.S.

Our deeper analysis highlights noteworthy differences in the degree of automatability of jobs through different states of the country, taking into consideration Oxford’s research on The Future of Employment and BLS employment data on 702 different professions.

Top 5 States With Highest Job Automation Risk

Top 5 States With Lowest Job Automation Risk

Projected Employment Declines

A recent article by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives a more detailed view of employment declines. The article states that despite the fear of replacement and job loss, in retrospect, the scale of actual displacement is usually greatly overestimated, adding that occupations that were earlier impacted by technology are more likely to suffer further damages than the new ones.

Decline Projection Computer
programmers (2019-2029)

Computer Programmers

There were obviously previous efforts to automate aspects of software production, such as the creation of computer-aided software engineering tools. Although some current automation writing believes that algorithms will eventually replace human programmers, others believe this is a more distant prospect, if not impossible.

Despite the advancement of automation and software tools, information technology occupations have multiplied, and current projections indicate that this trend will continue. The computer programmer occupation is one exception, with a 9.4% decline projected from 2019 to 2029.

Surgeons

Surgical robots have received a lot of attention. While some discuss them in the same context as industrial robots, implying that they will replace nonroutine manual tasks performed by humans, others admit that they are more likely to augment rather than replace human surgeons.

Despite the lower cost and shorter operation time, a recent systematic review found no clear advantages of robotic surgery over conventional surgery, though the technology may improve in the future. The BLS projects that the number of surgeon jobs will decline only by 2% between 2019 and 2029.

Decline Projection
Surgeons (2019-2029)

Decline Projection Janitors and Cleaners (2019-2029)

Janitors and Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners have been around for a while now and have undergone many sophistications over time. Their early introduction serves as a longtime frame to support the idea that automation will reduce the size of the occupation.

However, their appearance is not as fatal to job loss as it might seem. Despite 16 years of robot vacuum sales, the total number of maids and housekeepers declined by less than 0.3% in the period between 2008 and 2018. The trend is likely not to see changes in the declines projected for the 2019-2029 period.

Customer Service Representatives

Interactive voice response systems have taken over customer service representatives (CSR) and telemarketers. These systems can present a preprogrammed set of options to callers or listeners and, in some cases, interpret and respond to human speech flexibly to queries in a limited fashion.

Some see these jobs as vulnerable to automation as artificial intelligence improves. In contrast, others see customer service jobs as less amenable to automation due to the unpredictable nature of customer queries.

According to projections, the increased use of digital marketing is a considerable threat to telemarketing jobs. Telemarketing jobs are expected to decline by 14.2% between 2019 and 29.

Decline Projection Customer Service Representatives (2019-2029)

Decline Projection Reporters and Journalists (2019-2029)

Reporters and Journalists

Prior technology, specifically the internet and social media, have changed journalist jobs, lowering readership and advertising revenue for several long-established news outlets.

However, artificial intelligence is now being used to create simple news stories, corporate earnings reports, and other reading material, potentially reducing the need for journalists and public relations personnel. According to projections, news-related jobs will decline by 11.2% between 2019 and 2029.

The Impact of Automation on Blue Collar Jobs

Over a third of American workers are concerned about the link between automation and job loss. This makes sense, given that a sizable portion of the population in this age bracket holds jobs that are amenable to automation, according to statistics on employment loss.

Numerous fields most susceptible to job automation have evolved over time to automated processes; some of the most prominent are those under manufacturing and construction.

These industries are at the highest risk of getting fully automated (53% vs. 34%) as the number of operational industrial robot jobs increases by 13% annually.

Manufacturing Jobs

Job automation potential

Automation potential by gender

Automation potential by education

Task composition relative to country average (%)

Task composition of jobs in this territory and industry sector

Construction Jobs

Job automation potential

Automation potential by gender

Automation potential by education

Task composition relative to country average (%)

Task composition of jobs in this territory and industry sector

A thorough analysis of over 700 blue-collar jobs concludes that first-line supervisors of blue-collar jobs have a lower risk of becoming automated, followed by police officers and electricians.

With the probability ranging from 0 to 1, the list of skilled trades at the lowest risk of automation is as follows:

OccupationAutomation Probability
First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers and Repairers0.003
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers0.0036
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives0.0044
Supervisors Transportation0.029
First-Line Supervisors of Personal Service Workers0.076
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers0.097
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers0.098
Electricians0.15
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers0.17

The majority of blue-collar jobs pay by the hour; thus, by working overtime, a blue-collar worker can make close to six figures annually. With that being said, your income level is not always determined by the color of your collar.

Here are the some of the highest-paid blue-collar job with lower probabilities of automation.

OccupationMedian Annual Wage
Nuclear Power Reactor Operators$91,370
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detective$88,400
Power Distributors and Dispatchers$81,500
Detective and Criminal Investigators$81,490
Nuclear Technicians$77,820
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers$77,050
Elevator Installers and Repairers$76,860
Power Plant Operators$73,800
Transportation Inspectors$72,650
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers$68,040
Data from BLS.gov

What the Future Holds

The estimated share of existing jobs that the 2030s could potentially automate varies widely across countries, from only around 22% in Finland and South Korea to up to 44% in Slovakia.

Countries with the Highest Risk of Job Automation

Automation Job Loss Vs. Gender

job loss statistics by gender

Male workers are more likely than female workers to have jobs that are more at risk of being automated by the 2030s, with a rate estimate of 34% across countries for male vs. 26% for female workers.

This is primarily because male workers are typically overrepresented in industries with high levels of automation, such as manufacturing, transportation, storage, and construction. In contrast, female workers are usually presented in sectors like health, social work, and education, which are predicted to have relatively low levels of automation.

In the U.S., particularly, the share of jobs that could potentially be automated will reach up to 38% by the mid-2030s.

The risk remains higher for male workers at 39%, whereas female workers follow at 37%. Education is a decisive factor in the potential risk of losing your job.

All Industry Sectors

Job automation potential

Automation potential by gender

Automation potential by education

Task composition relative to country average (%)

Task composition of jobs in this territory and industry sector

expected waves of job automation

Bottom Line

Automation is a powerful tool for reshaping the future by creating and developing easy access to human needs. Ever since the dawn of the industrial revolution, people have feared losing their jobs or being replaced, and many were.

However, studies and time have shown that these developments, fortunately, can create new employment opportunities. Will a robot replace your job? In the future, maybe yes, but you need not be jobless, as new opportunities will most certainly be created.