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About 1.5 mln jobs in England at high risk of being automated

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LONDON, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Potential automation of occupations may have an impact on England's labour market, with around 1.5 million jobs being at high risk of being automated in the future, according to an analysis released on Monday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS has analyzed the jobs of 20 million people in England in 2017, looking at the tasks performed by people in jobs across the whole labour market, to assess the probability that some of these tasks could be replaced through automation.

Overall, 7.4 percent of the total is at high risk of automation, the analysis shows.

Automation involves replacing tasks currently done by workers with technology, which could include computer programs, algorithms, or even robots.

Women, young people, and those who work part-time are most likely to work in roles that are at high risk of automation, according to the ONS.

When considering the overall risk of automation, the three occupations with the highest probability of automation are waiters or waitresses, shelf fillers and elementary sales occupations, all of which are low skilled or routine, the ONS say.

Meanwhile, the three occupations at the lowest risk of automation are medical practitioners, higher education teaching professionals, and senior professionals of educational establishments. These occupations are all considered high skilled.

However, the proportion of jobs at a high risk of automation decreased slightly between 2011 and 2017, from 8.1 percent to 7.4 percent, while the proportion of jobs at low and medium risk of automation has risen.

The exact reasons for such decrease are unclear, but it is possible that automation of some jobs has already happened, according to the analysis.

Additionally, while the overall number of jobs has increased, the majority of these are in occupations that are at low or medium risk, suggesting that the labour market may be changing to jobs that require more complex and less routine skills, the ONS say.

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