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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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Robots to take over 600k British builders' jobs in 20 years

Robots and digital technology

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LONDON, U.K. - According to a startling new research, as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ arrives in 2040 - nearly one in three construction jobs in the U.K. could be wiped out.

Over the next two decades, robots and digital technology can reportedly wipe out up to 600,000 British builders’ jobs.

Currently, reports have noted that there are around 2.2 million positions in the industry in the U.K. - however, automation could wipe out a huge number of manual labour from the industry.

The report by engineering giant Mace revealed that one of the hardest hit jobs will be bricklaying, where numbers are predicted to fall from 73,000 to just 4,300.

Further, the report noted that by the year 2040, there will be just 15,500 carpenters and interior fitters, down from the current number of 260,000.

In addition, the number of labourers will drop from 127,000 to a mere 7,500.

The study further noted that there may be just 6,500 painters and decorators in 20 years, compared to the current number of 110,000.

However, the researchers pointed out that while machines may take away traditional jobs, they will also increase safety and speed up construction projects.

According to the report, the change will create new roles, including those for computer programmers, and warned that the building sector would need to adapt to these major changes or face a crisis.

The report also pointed out that the situation was being made worse by immigrant builders who were being deterred by Brexit.

Further, questions about whether foreign staff will be allowed to work in the U.K. once we leave the EU are being raised.

Commenting on the findings, Mark Reynolds, chief executive of Mace, said, "Everyone acknowledges the current skills shortages need to be addressed. Our research highlights the opportunities offered by the digital revolution.”

Reynolds added, “Our latest report highlights the opportunities the digital revolution can offer, how we can dramatically close the future skills gap and how we can meet the 25 billion pounds ‘productivity challenge’. The recommendations we have laid out will go some way towards addressing these issues. The industry, our training bodies and government need to work together to take full advantage of everything that industry 4.0 can offer.”

According to Mace, output per worker in the construction industry had been flat over the past 10 years, compared to a 30 percent improvement in services and a 50 percent increase in manufacturing.

 

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