Tech & Work

Robot gender gap: Women will lose more jobs due to automation than men, WEF finds

Even with retraining, displaced women will have fewer job opportunities than men, the report found.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Women are likely to lose more jobs than men as automation increases. — World Economic Forum, 2018
  • Nearly all-95%-of workers at highest risk of losing their jobs can be retrained for new, potentially higher-paying, jobs. — World Economic Forum, 2018

Women are more likely than men to lose jobs as automation increases, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report released Monday.

Around 57% of the estimated 1.4 million jobs lost to automation by 2026 will belong to women, the report found. The loss may continue gender disparity in employment, especially in sectors like the tech industry that already see uneven employment rates between men and women.

Women will less job opportunities whether or not they retrain for new fields, the report found. Without additional training, women will have 12 job options while men have 22, on average. With training, women will see 49 options while men see 80, on average.

SEE: Research: Automation and the future of IT jobs (Tech Pro Research)

To mitigate automation's impact and avoid increased gender disparity, workers should be constantly learning new skills and gaining relevant work experience, the research suggested. With appropriate retraining, 95% of people at the highest risk of losing their job to automation will be able to grab a new job, potentially a higher-paying one, the report said.

Using job postings to discern unique types of jobs, WEF determined the jobs most likely to be hurt by automation and created job transition maps to show how people in those jobs can retrain for new ones with similar skills.

For example, someone in an administrative assistant role-a female-dominated field that can be easily automated-could move into an insurance clerk role. Cashiers, a role which could disappear due to automated stores like Amazon Go, could move into higher paying travel clerk roles.

The constant reskilling trend will extend past the workers themselves, the report said. Employers will need to look past a lack of exact skills and determine how a worker's past experience could help them succeed in the role. Policymakers will need to understand training's role in continued economic growth, and see how the government could assist in funding reskilling efforts.

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Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

About Olivia Krauth

Olivia Krauth is a Multiplatform Reporter at TechRepublic.

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