Nearly a third of jobs at risk from AI, report warns
NEARLY a third of jobs in the Channel Islands could be at risk over the next 15 years due to automation, with financial services most vulnerable, a business report has warned.
Accountancy firm PwC is urging the government and businesses to take action as they look to rebuild post-Covid-19 by upskilling the workforce so it is ready to take on the digital jobs of the future.
The report says that it is no longer manual-type jobs that are most at risk from technological advancements, with improvements in artificial intelligence meaning many office roles are under threat.
The report, which has been shared with the governments of Jersey and Guernsey, found:
l30% of Channel Islands jobs are at risk from automation and artificial intelligence between now and 2035, which equates to more than 27,000 positions.
lThe most affected will be the finance sector, particularly from 2025 to 2030.
lCovid-19 has accelerated the trend because businesses have switched to greater use of technology during the crisis.
lAs many new jobs will be created as lost between 2020 and 2035.
lThe Channel Islands will not have the right skills in its workforce for the new jobs that are created unless action is taken now.
Nick Vermeulen, the partner leading on Innovation and Technology at PwC Channel Islands, said that jobs lost during the pandemic may never return unless upskilling takes place.
‘If governments, businesses and educators don’t take decisive action now, the jobs that are furloughed or lost in the downturn may never return,’ he said.
‘Posts at risk in five or ten years’ time could disappear much sooner, as restructuring and cost-saving accelerate in the wake of the pandemic.
‘But with the right skills, agility and readiness to embrace change, the Channel Islands can create thousands of new jobs to make up for the ones that will be lost.’
The report recommends the creation of a taskforce to coordinate ‘mass upskilling’ for Guernsey and Jersey, claiming that the ultimate cost of not doing so would be six times higher than investing now.
And with the government due to spend £150 million on revitalising the post-Covid-19 economy, it adds that there is a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to transform the Island’s workforce.
‘With the right skills, agility and readiness to embrace change, the Channel Islands can create thousands of new jobs to make up for the ones that will be lost,’ it says.
‘We can attract new businesses with new ways of working, improve the quality and value of the work we do, make it more fulfilling and ultimately bolster the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of our islands.’
Mr Vermeulen added that positioning the Channel Islands as a ‘digital talent hub’ could help rebuild the economy post-pandemic.
Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham was contacted for comment.
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