Conflicting reports have been published on the effect of automation in the job market and how much it will impact certain sectors.
Recently, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has released “Women, Automation, and the Future of Work,” a comprehensive study of how automation will affect U.S. workers differently based on their gender. The analysis shows that women face a higher risk of being automated out of many jobs.
Jobs identified as being most likely to become automated, including receptionists, cashiers, office administrators and secretaries are traditionally held by women. An analysis of the most “at-risk” occupations — which comprise an estimated 35 million jobs — shows that for every seven men in such fields, there are 10 women. This ratio becomes even more pronounced when you consider that women are a smaller percentage of the overall workforce.
According to the report, “A better understanding of how women and men may be affected differentially by technological change can lead to more effective policies that share the benefits of technological change more equitably.”
The World Economic Forum featured the study in a recent blog post and suggested that some effects may be offset by focusing on skills development to train women for positions that pose fewer risks of obsolescence. According to the study, women who don’t have digital skills have limited options.
The blog post acknowledged that skill building would not be easy for “women already years or decades into their careers.”