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Scots Want Quotas to Protect Jobs from Robots, Study Finds

Dominique Adams

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humans vs robots

The majority of Scots want government intervention to provide training for those who lose their jobs due to automation, a new survey suggests.  

A study conducted by Opinium Research for PwC has found that 45% of surveyed Scots were worried about the risk that robots pose to their job security.

More than three-quarters of respondents, researchers found, would like to see government quotas established to protect human workers from losing their jobs due to increased automation.

Just over half said they believed their current role would not be the same in a decade due to the introduction of robots or automation, while 47% said they were prepared to accept a lower salary if technology replaced them in their current career.

Interestingly, some 55% said they would be willing to accept a lower position at another company. 51% said they would be prepared to study full-time, with this figure climbing to 64% for those willing to do distance learning.

When asked who is responsible for retraining workers impacted by the growing use of robotics in the workplace, the most common answer given was the UK Government at 28%.

22% said the Scottish Government and local authorities were responsible, while the same number felt it should be dealt with by businesses. Only 4% said the onus was on the workers.

86% supported government intervention in the form of free or subsidised training courses for anyone who loses their job due to automation. 84% said it should be mandatory for companies to reskill workers who lose their jobs.

Stewart Wilson of PwC in Scotland, said: “It is reassuring to see that so many people working in Scotland today both recognise the role that automation is going to play, and are keen to develop new skills in response.

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“However, what our research tells us is that UK and Scottish Governments, along with local authorities and businesses need to work together to invest in upskilling initiatives which will benefit the whole workforce to create opportunities for everyone – and that work must begin now.

“Our research has previously projected that more jobs will be created as a consequence of automation in Scotland than displaced, leading to a net benefit.

“But we must recognise that while automation can improve the lives of skilled workers it may make life more difficult for those less skilled.”

In June, analysis firm Oxford Economics stated that several hundreds of thousands of jobs could potentially be lost to robots in the UK.

A study published in 2018 stated that automation could see 230,000 jobs lost in Scotland over the coming decade. Of the total this includes 112,700 jobs in Glasgow, 60,800 in Edinburgh, 35,900 in Aberdeen, and 20,000 in Dundee.

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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