Occupations in transformation: who will be affected by technological change?

Aina Gallego, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals

The growing automation of a large number of occupational tasks above all affects the lowest qualified employees, but also those with intermediate qualifications, such as those in administrative positions. The evidence available suggests that in Spain, many jobs will be affected. This risk is not evenly distributed throughout the population: the impact will be greater among workers with lower levels of education and those currently unemployed. Workers displaced by machines will find themselves forced to acquire new skills, but many may find this difficult and not all of them will achieve it.
Key points
  • 1
       Spain has a computerisation risk above 0.50. This means that around half of the tasks carried out today by humans today will be carried out by machines in a few years. This risk is not evenly distributed among the population nor among occupations.
  • 2
       The group at the greatest risk is that of administrative staff, who will be easier to substitute with technological capital. Finally, other characters such as workers in services and sales, operators and non-skilled workers present intermediate risk levels.
  • 3
       Over half of the tasks carried out in “technical” occupations could be carried out by machines in coming years. This group includes professions such as specialised operators, technical engineers or inspectors, who have intermediate training levels and carry out some routine tasks.
  • 4
       Management and “professional” occupations (with the latter category ranging from doctors to chemists, teachers or IT specialists) are those with the least risk of the typical tasks of these professions being carried out by machines.
Risk of computerisation
Risk of computerisation

Risk of computerisation is the probability that certain tasks currently undertaken by people will change to be carried out by machines (robots, computers, artificial intelligence, etc.). It affects men and women almost equally, but notable is the major difference due to education level. As shown by the graph, approximately 30% of the tasks carried out today by people with a university education are at risk, but the risk reaches almost 70% of people who have primary education. Also prominent are the differences by income level: the best paid professions presently are the most protected against the risk of being carried out by machines. With respect to the labour situation, those people who are unemployed or studying (after having worked) are in a more vulnerable position than those who are currently working.

Political involvement and risk of computerisation
  • Citizens whose jobs are at greater risk of automation are also less politically involved. Therefore, it is foreseeable that the political response to this situation will not heed their viewpoints.
  • Citizens who have not participated in any political act except voting at the elections have jobs with higher computerisation risks than the rest.
  • People with no interest in politics have a much greater risk.
  • Citizens to the right of the political spectrum have jobs with a lower risk of computerisation than the rest.
  • Citizens against income redistribution present lower computerisation risks than citizens who state they are in favour of redistribution. 

Classification

Author

Aina Gallego , Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals

Tags

Subject areas

Related content

Infodata

Inequality in income distribution

Between the years 2007 and 2017, inequality in Spain increased, with a Gini Coeficient (not including social transfers) that has increased in value from 45 to 50

Infodata

Level of economic development

The GDP in purchasing power standards allows a more exact comparison of the level of economic development between countries. In 2017, the GDP per inhabitant in Purchasing Power Standards remained at 92% of the European average, unchanged from the previous year

Infodata

Social exclusion from the labour market

The difference in unemployment rates between men and women in our country is larger than the European average. How has it evolved during the recent years of economic crisis?

Article

Why are there fewer women in manual occupations?

Two out of every three workers in manual occupations are men, and women continue to be a minority in occupations such as construction, and industry. What factors influence segregation by gender in the labour market?

Barometer

Percentage of children aged below 6 years that are at risk of poverty

You may also find interesting

Article

How many people do we know?

How many people do we know?

Science

According to this study, we frequently interact with an average of 536 acquaintances, but the number is different for each person. What factors influence the size of our relationship circles?

Interview

“Diversity makes science better”

“Diversity makes science better”

Science

Elizabeth Rasekoala, President of African Gong, defends the importance of science as a tool for social transformation and talks to us about the need for acquiring basic scientific literacy in order to be able to think critically.

Article

Does science advance one funeral at a time?

Does science advance one funeral at a time?

Science

What happens when a scientist conducting high-level research dies prematurely? This article confirms a proliferation of articles by new researchers, with disruptive ideas, in the field of the deceased person.