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Automation to affect job quality in Northern Ireland

14 March 2019

Automation is likely to have a major impact on the quality of work in Northern Ireland and policy intervention is needed to improve this situation, according to a new report from the Nevin Economic Research Institute.

The Future of Work: The impact of automation technologies for job quality in Northern Ireland says: "Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics and other forms of automation technologies have led to a re-emergence of ‘automation anxiety’ and concerns about the future of work. While automation may destroy some jobs, an equal or greater number of jobs will likely be created in the aftermath."

Neri says: "To-date, technological advancements and other megatrends such as globalisation have reduced employment across advanced economies in sectors such as manufacturing and occupations, predominantly characterised by routine tasks. While the economy has since created enough new jobs to avoid net losses, it has not necessarily been replacing like with like."

The report sets out to evaluate job quality of previous employment in order to understand the impact automation has on job quality in the future.   

Neri says: "We find that the trend of occupational polarisation is likely to continue as routine-biased technological change spreads throughout the economy. We also find that some of the industries and occupations with the lowest risk of automation are more susceptible to lower levels of job quality in Northern Ireland. The commodification of labour in some of these poor-quality jobs prevents an upward revaluation of this work and thus, making it is unlikely that job quality will improve without some direct policy intervention."

Download the full report at: www.nerinstitute.net