Opinion  

The robots won’t take your job... yet

Peter Walker

Despite all the industry chatter about the impending threat of ‘robo-advisers’ taking all your jobs, you’ll be pleased to hear that a new calculation only puts the humble IFA’s risk of automation at 41 per cent.

According to the BBC widget that calculates the likelihood that you’ll be replaced with an automation within the next two decades, this puts advisers in the “too close to call” category, ranking the profession 199th out of 366 possible jobs.

About 35 per cent of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the following 20 years, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte.

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Oxford University academics Michael Osborne and Carl Frey calculated how susceptible to automation each job is based on nine key skills required to perform it; social perceptiveness, negotiation, persuasion, assisting and caring for others, originality, fine arts, finger dexterity, manual dexterity and the need to work in a cramped work space.

Therefore, occupations involving tasks that require a high degree of social intelligence and negotiating skills, like managerial positions (financial institution directors come in at 11.4 per cent), are considerably less at risk from machines according to the study.

In contrast, while certain sales jobs like telemarketers (99 per cent risk of automation) and bank clerks (96.8 per cent) may involve interactive tasks they do not necessarily need a high degree of social intelligence, leaving them exposed to automation.

The report also pointed out that sophisticated algorithms are challenging a number of office and administrative support roles, particularly in legal and financial services.

Also up in the 90th percentile in terms of automation by the year 2036 were jobs like chartered and certified accountant (95.3 per cent) and taxation expert (95.3 per cent), while we’re not sure if inspector of standards and regulations (94.5 per cent) refers to those working at the FCA.

Interestingly, ranking as one of the least likely to be automated anytime soon, was the slightly vague role of ‘broker’, with just a 4.5 per cent chance in the next 20 years; the same as that given for musicians.

Those employed as publicans and hotel managers were deemed to be the safest in their line of work (both 0.4 per cent), while Monday morning was made a bit more bearable for us journalists; given an 8.4 per cent risk of being replaced by robots.

peter.walker@ft.com