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New Pearson Research into England’s Jobs Future Reveals That Automation Does Not Mean Fewer Jobs – It Means Different Jobs

Collaboration, employee engagement

2 million jobs will be impacted by automation and augmentation by 2027, but 2.4 million new jobs will be created

New research from Pearson, the leading learning company, predicts that, despite the impact of automation and augmentation on the workforce, there will be more jobs available across England in four years’ time. While 2 million jobs across England may be lost owing to automation and augmentation by 2027, the same drivers are expected to create more than 2.4 million jobs, a net increase of 390,000 new roles. 

Two million impacted workers of all ages, skills levels and seniority, may be at risk of losing their jobs to automation over the next four years. This presents a challenge to job seekers and decision makers – policymakers, educators or employers – as they plan for the years ahead and look to support workers to reskill or upskill into emerging available roles.

Pearson’s online Skills Map of England, launched today, explores workforce shifts in each of England’s nine regions between now and 2027, showing which industries are likely to expand and which are set to shrink, based on the number of jobs available. It also looks at the current skills in demand from employers, as well as those growing in importance. Other findings of interest include:

  • The IT Sector will see most growth: The IT sector is expected to expand its workforce by the greatest number of employees (+365,000), closely followed by Transportation and Storage (+215,000) 
  • The Retail Sector to shrink the most: The Wholesale and Retail Trade sector is expected to have 170,000 fewer jobs
  • ‘Human Skills’ are the most in demand: The most in demand skills are currently predominantly human, transferable skills such as Communication and Teamwork

In the accompanying research paper, Pearson makes three key recommendations for policymakers, as they plan for the years ahead, calling for them to:

  1. Further devolve skills and employment funding to combined authorities – Local leaders are best placed to understand local labour market conditions, and to work with local employers and education providers to support the development of future skills. 
  2. Act now, to help the workforce adapt – There is an immediate need to support those in roles at risk, and to consider how these people can be upskilled or reskilled to meet the needs of the growing sectors of the economy. 
  3. Use data to plan for the future – Evidence-led policy making will deliver the most effective outcomes. Policymakers should utilise private and public sector data to ensure skills policy is forward looking, and to ensure that we are planning for the jobs of the future.

Freya Thomas Monk, Managing Director of Vocational Qualifications and Training, at Pearson said:

“Our Skills Map demonstrates that automation does not necessarily mean fewer jobs – it means different jobs. Policymakers, employers, job seekers and educators must plan now for the shifts in the workforce brought about by automation to strike the right balance between the supply and demand of specific skill sets in any country, region and sector at any given time.

“Regions with a flexible and adaptable workforce that can more readily anticipate and embrace new opportunities over the next five, ten, or even fifty years, are the most likely to thrive. We must take urgent steps to ensure that England’s workforce can keep up with the demands of the constantly evolving modern economy, in order to maintain or enhance economic productivity.”

For this analysis, a UK labour market dataset was collated from the census and Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, then mapped to Pearson’s proprietary occupation ontology of 5,600 occupations and 26,000 tasks. Once mapped, Pearson’s technological transformation models were used to produce in-depth projections of the future of the work. Macroeconomic factors have been modelled by economists specialising in workforce dynamics, informed by industry-level statistics & projections from the UK government. 

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