Half a million new Scots jobs expected from automation

More than half a million jobs will be created in Scotland over the next two decades with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) driving greater automation and robotics, new research indicates.

Robots will take the place of factory staff, transport employees and construction  workers. Picture: Getty
Robots will take the place of factory staff, transport employees and construction workers. Picture: Getty

This will outstrip the number of jobs expected to be lost with the growing use of technology in the workplace according to a report by finance giants PwC.

More doctors and nurses will emerge, along with teachers and technology workers, in the changing economy, but factory staff, transport employees and construction workers are poised to shrink. Defence will also lose out with the rise in the use of technology like drones.

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A total of 558,000 Scottish jobs are predicted to be created over 20 years, while 544,000 could be lost, resulting in a net increase of around 14,000. About 7.2 million jobs will be created UK-wide, outstripping the 7 million expected to be lost.

Euan Cameron, UK artificial intelligence leader at PwC, said: “People are understandably worried about the impact of AI on jobs, and businesses and the government need to address these concerns head on.

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“Our research highlights where the biggest impacts will be and which areas are most vulnerable, so that businesses and government can plan how best to help people develop the skills that will prepare them for the future.

“As our analysis shows, there will be winners and losers. It’s likely that the fourth industrial revolution will favour those with strong digital skills, as well as capabilities like creativity and teamwork which machines find it harder to replicate.”

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The falling costs associated with automation will bring down prices and leave Scots with more money to spend. This will in turn create demand for more goods and services which will bring about the increase in jobs, according to the report.

PwC also forecasts growth of just over 1 per cent in Scotland in 2018, compared to 1.3 per cent across the UK. In 2019 growth is expected to rise to 1.3 per cent but remain behind overall UK growth of 1.6 per cent. The report calls for more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects, as well as the role of art and design.