Tuesday 26 March 2019

44% of Irish jobs at high risk of automation, study finds

A University College Cork report has identified towns and jobs most at risk from the impact of automation.

Production line (Steve Parsons/PA)
Production line (Steve Parsons/PA)

By Michelle Devane, Press Association  

More than two-fifths of Irish jobs are at a high risk of automation, a study has found.

A University College Cork (UCC) report said 44% of jobs across the country are at a high risk of being impacted by automation.

Office, secretarial and administrative work, manufacturing and agriculture, and customer service jobs were most at risk.

Least at risk were the areas of teaching and education, the arts, media and culture, health and social care, and research and development.

Our results suggest that the pattern of job risk from automation across Ireland demands policy that is not one-size-fits-all, rather a localised, place-based, bottom-up approach to policy intervention is needed in Ireland Frank Crowley

The study – Automation in Irish Towns: Who’s Most at Risk? – examined the impact across urban areas and identified where jobs were most under threat.

Edgeworthstown in Co Longford, Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, and Carrick-on-Suir in Co Tipperary were identified as the towns most at risk.

Bearna in Co Galway, Strandhill in Co Sligo, and Malahide in Co Dublin were found to be least in jeopardy.

Using 2016 Census data the co-authors of the report, Frank Crowley and Justin Doran, said they used an internationally recognised automation risk methodology to ascertain which towns will be most impacted.

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Dr Frank Crowley, co-author of a new University College Cork report. Pic courtesy of Dr Crowley for use with this story only.

Dr Crowley said: “The impact of automation in Ireland is going to be felt far and wide, with two out of every five jobs at high risk of automation.

“Our study finds that the likelihood of jobs in towns being automated is explained by population differences, by education levels, age demographics, the proportion of creative occupations in the town, town size and differences in the types of industries across towns.

“Our results suggest that the pattern of job risk from automation across Ireland demands policy that is not one-size-fits-all, rather a localised, place-based, bottom-up approach to policy intervention is needed in Ireland.”

The report found wide differences between towns, from a low of 26% of jobs at risk to a high of 58%.

The analysis also found that many high-risk towns have low risk areas nearby, and vice versa.

Dr Crowley said the dominance of the “city” is a trend around the world.

“As cities become the dominant centre for economic activity, rural areas are being left behind, and these spatial difference have been credited with the rise of right-wing political movements across the world,” he said.

The report also said there are also some concentrations of lower risk towns and higher risk towns.

For instance, in the Dublin city region, Malahide, Skerries and Donabate are all at lower risk of automation.

Meanwhile, there are clusters of higher risk towns such as Fermoy and Bandon in Co Cork, and Shannon and Abbeyfeale in Co Limerick.

Press Association

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