Warwickshire County Council’s Economics team makes recommendations to Warwickshire businesses following report into automation

The rising tide of automation offers great opportunities to businesses in the coming years but also carries significant risks, research by Warwickshire County Council has revealed.

A new report by Warwickshire Economics, part of the county council’s Economy & Skills Team, argues that a balanced approach to automation from policy-makers and employers is vital to ensuring that its benefits are reaped while keeping negative effects to a minimum.

The report reveals that an estimated 116,000 jobs in the county (41.3% of the workforce) are at very high risk of automation. Of these, an estimated 81,500 may be lost in the wholesale & retail trade, manufacturing, transportation & logistics, tourism and construction industries.

Occupations at greatest risk, according to the report’s exclusive findings, are large goods vehicle drivers, vehicle & metal goods assemblers and those in elementary storage.

The report also warns that, based on local labour supply-base shortages and large wage-premiums, automation is likely to have significant impacts on the automotive industry.

Businesses therefore must be encouraged to exploit automation while also having an eye on the potential pitfalls, says

Warwickshire County Council Leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said:

“Warwickshire is renowned as a place which embraces new technology and often leads the way. That is a real strength of the county’s economy, but to ensure that the benefits of automation are realised, whilst the negatives are minimised, policy-makers require a cohesive and proactive approach to dealing with rapid improvements in technology.

“For this reason, we have set out the five policy recommendations below which can ensure a balanced and productive outcome, and help ensure that the county is well prepared for the both the opportunities that automation can bring, but also the potential disruption to employees.”

The Warwickshire Economics report states that occupations at least risk of automation are those requiring a high degree of creative thinking. It identifies 11 occupations as likely to remain unaffected or to expand, the most important of which, for Warwickshire, are: Design & development engineers, electronics engineers, quality control and planning engineers, mechanical engineers and IT business analysts & systems designers.

Among opportunities opened up by ever-more sophisticated automation, meanwhile, are a better-equipped health care system, increases in wage and productivity and an ability for employees to specialise in more complex roles.

With a clear need for automation to be approached in a considered and proactive way, Warwickshire County Council has compiled a five-stranded strategy for employers to prioritise.

Businesses should:

  • promote retraining and continuous learning among their employees
  • co-invest in technology and skills
  • encourage highly-skilled, knowledge-intensive occupations
  • embed skills for the future within education and training programmes
  • recognise and promote multiple careers.

The Warwickshire Economics report on automation can be read in full here.

For more information please contact the report’s author at samvandeschhootbrugge@warwickshire.gov.uk