The Risk of Job Loss to Automation by Industry

Posted by Stephanie Bailey on Aug 2, 2018 1:44:07 PM

Robot Takeover

At AgileCraft we are very fond of our Pegasus AI, it’s able to leverage big data with machine learning to help sense and adapt to changes at the business level, drive portfolios and power engineering teams.

In short, we are big fans of AI and feel automation is inevitable for businesses and will usher in a whole host of improvements. With these improvements comes change however and this made us think about what America will look like when technology reaches the level to replace jobs held by humans - which job roles will be at risk and which will be safe? What would the economic impact be? And are there particular states that would be affected by a robot takeover?

To answer these questions we used data from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to determine the top 100 jobs in America with the most employment as well as the average salaries and workforce numbers and then a gaussian process classifier paired with the 2013 Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne report titled ‘The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation’ to calculate job automation risk over the next two decades with some interesting results.

Professions with the highest job automation risk

This won’t come as a surprise but retail jobs have the most employment and are the most at risk profession in America with a whopping 8.7million Americans employed in retail roles and a 92% certainty of robot takeover for this profession in the next two decades.

Professions with the lowest job automation risk

It seems elementary school teachers are the safest when it comes to job automation and these valuable roles are deemed totally safe with only a minuscule 0.44% chance of robot takeover.

Potential job and salary losses as a result of job automation

The total salary losses if every most at risk profession was taken over by automation would be a whopping 1.2 trillion dollars, that’s the total GDP of Australia!

Total jobs at risk of job automation

Out of all the jobs at risk in the top 100 most employed professions in America, 36% of them are likely to be taken over in the next two decades.

Average job automation risk by education level

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lower the education requirement for a job role the higher the risk of automation is. Roles requiring bachelor degrees are the safest with an average robot takeover risk of 16%. Interestingly having a doctoral or professional degree doesn’t mean you’re the least at risk as these professions have an average robot takeover risk of 32%.

Occupations with the most job automation risk

If you're employed in either a food preparation and serving related occupation or an office and administrative support occupation you may want to think twice about your future as these profession categories have a predicted 86 and 88% chance of robot takeover in the next two decades!

Occupations with the least job automation risk.


The safest occupations from robot takeover are the legal professions which have a high degree of complexity and definitely need the human factor, robot courts seem to be a long way off!

Risk of job loss to automation by occupation

Occupations with a medium risk of robot takeover include business and financial operations, construction and extraction, healthcare support, installation, maintenance, and repair, and protective service occupations.

States most at risk of job loss to automation

California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have the highest employment levels for the most at risk occupations and would suffer the most job losses from robot takeover.

Average job automation risk by salary level

When it comes to salary levels, it seems that the lower your salary, the more at risk your job is of automation. Job roles earning between $20-40k having a 70% chance of job automation whereas specialist jobs commanding high salaries over $90,000 are the safest from automation.

And there you have it, retail professions are the most likely to be affected by automation, roles requiring bachelor degrees are the safest, and legal occupations have the lowest risk of automation.

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Topics: job automation, job automation risk, AI, automation jobs loss