A new report from the Centre for Cities think tank says that by 2030 one in five existing jobs in the UK will be "displaced" by globalisation and automation. The country will not be affected equally either, the report suggests, predicting northern cities will be much worse hit than southern ones.
Not only are the losses of existing jobs set to be felt worst in cities in the North and Midlands, the centre's Cities Outlook 2018 says, but cities in the south are better placed to pick up high-skilled positions set to grow by 2030.
"This growing reliance on low-skilled private sector jobs means that the gulf in living standards and wages between struggling Northern and Midlands cities, and wealthier places in the South, will continue to widen in the coming decades," the centre said in a news release.
The report also noted that many of the worst hit cities are those that voted strongly in favour for Brexit. In Mansfield, where 70% of people voted for the UK to leave the European Union, 29% of jobs are likely to be lost by 2030 – 8% higher than the national average of 21%.
On the other side, Oxford and Cambridge, which both see much higher average weekly wages than Mansfield, are only predicted to lose 13% of jobs by 2030, 9% lower than the national average and 16% lower than Mansfield.
"Automation and globalisation will bring huge opportunities to increase prosperity and jobs, but there is also a real risk that many people and places will lose out," Centre for Cities Cheif Executive, Andrew Carter said. "The time to act is now – national and local leaders need to ensure that people in cities across the North and Midlands can share in the benefits these changes could offer."
According to Carter, education reform, including improving school standards particularly in areas most at risk and investment in lifelong learning and technical education will help communities face this future labour market.
"In an evermore divided country, it's increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach from central government is inadequate to address the myriad issues that different places face. The challenges and opportunities ahead for Blackburn are very different to those for Brighton," Carter said. "The Government needs to give cities more powers and resources to tackle the issues that automation and globalisation will present, and to make the most of the benefits they will bring."