Automation: Welsh Government needs plan for “approaching iceberg”

A report published today by think tank ‘Future Advocacy’ has warned that one-in-three jobs in Wales will be at risk as a result of automation by 2030, and that Wales’ top 10 private employers were in the most vulnerable sectors.

The report found that the manufacturing sector is the industry most susceptible to automation in Wales, with the retail and distribution sectors most affected across the UK as a whole.

Of the 40 Welsh constituencies, automation is expected to have the greatest impact on Alyn and Deeside, where 37% of jobs could disappear, compared to 35% in Newport East. Even in those least affected, one in four jobs are expected to go.

Responding to the report, Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Russell George said:

“This report is a wake-up call for the Welsh Government.

“Automation poses a genuine threat to the workforce in Wales, but with proper preparation that doesn’t need to spell disaster for Welsh jobs.

“Sadly, it’s as though Labour Ministers can see the approaching iceberg – even if they don’t appear to have any answers to one of the most significant challenges to jobs and prosperity in generations.

“The Welsh Government’s economic action plan makes almost no reference to automation, and the warm words about ‘future proofing’ appear a little hollow in the absence of a meaningful strategy.

“It’s not all bad news. The ‘fourth industrial revolution’ presents opportunities too, and the Welsh Government needs to be working with business leaders to unlock them.”