More women than men could lose their jobs to automation

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A new report from the World Economic Forum says that could widen gender inequality, but job training could help solve the problem.


Women may stand to lose the majority of jobs to automation, according to a report Monday from the World Economic Forum.

The report, titled “Toward a Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs for All,” looks at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projection that says by 2026, 1.4 million jobs nationwide will be either be automated or disrupted by automation in some manner. Of those 1.4 million jobs, 57 percent will belong to women — something the report says could widen gender inequality.


Part of the reason for this is because many jobs still lean heavily toward one gender or another. As an example, the report references how secretarial and administrative assistant roles are largely filled by women. As automation takes over duties like administrative tasks, some 164,000 women’s jobs could be at risk.


Automation is the source of much hand wringing when discussing the future of work. An oft-cited 2013 study from Oxford University found 47 percent of US jobs could be at risk to automation. Just this week, Amazon unveiled its Amazon Go store, a retail space without cashiers (though there are still some humans on hand to do tasks like check IDs.)

While some theorize automation could free up humans to pursue higher-level tasks or even just leisure, this new study sees potential for growing inequality, particularly for groups like women who already face economic disadvantages.


All may not be lost, but a person’s ability to survive the automation shakeup depends greatly on whether she can acquire new skills.


Photo: Nett / News Source: CNET