Robots will take over half a million UK retail jobs

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UK retail sector could lose over half a million jobs to robots and AI, as 1 in 5 jobs could be replaced within the next five years.

The move towards automation in the retail sector is being driven by IT leaders who are pushing for greater efficiency.

The findings were published in the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, shortly after the Office for National Statistics, (ONS), estimated that two thirds, (135,000) of cashier jobs in the UK are at high risk of being automated.

The data also reveals that two thirds, (67 per cent), of IT leaders in the UK believe that new jobs created will compensate for the job losses to artificial intelligence and automation.

As job losses in traditional roles increase, so will opportunities in jobs that require digital and technical skills, leading to a reorganisation of roles across retailers.

Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash, said: “The rapid deployment of new technology in the sector has allowed retailers to replace skills which are in short supply with automated solutions.

But, at the same time, technology has created new roles in areas such as big data/analytics – and retailers are now reporting that they aren’t able to find enough data scientists to fill these vitally important roles.”

By Michelle Mooney

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