Business services jobs at risk of automation
Business services jobs at risk of automation Getty Images

More than a quarter of jobs belonging to the business services sector are at risk of automation in a period of over next 20 years, suggests a new report by business advisory firm Deloitte. The falling cost of technology and rising labour costs are seen as the primary reasons behind this.

The analysis suggests that out of 330,000 business services jobs, a total of 800,000 to one million jobs face high risk of being automated. However, when compared to the national total of 36%, this figure is pretty lower, which indicates that the business service sector stands comparatively less exposed to automation than other entities in the UK economy.

According to the report, about 45% of business services jobs are at low risk of being automated and the rest of the jobs come under the medium risk category.

The analysis suggests that labour costs are expected to rise in the next five years due to the introduction of National Living Wage, rising costs, price competition and their impact that might lead to a completely new focus on productivity and efficiency in the business services sector.

Simon Barnes, the financial transformation partner at Deloitte, said: "We expect the pace of automation to increase exponentially over the next few decades. Business services companies need to consider the full potential of intelligent automation, both as a way of improving operational efficiency and quality standards, and in order to innovate to remain competitive."

"The business services workforce in the UK will fundamentally change over the next 10 to 20 years. Repetitive and highly structured job roles are likely to be reduced, while new, higher-skilled roles will be created," added Simon.

Meanwhile, the study says that the risk is not for the business services sector only. A total of 21,68,000 jobs (59%) belonging to wholesale and retail sector in the UK also have chances of automation in the next 10 to 20 years, Deloitte predicted earlier in January. But the human health and social work sector which offers the largest numbers of jobs have low chances of being automated.