Report: Robots eye jobs in manufacturing, welding

By Rachel Silverman, for The Wall Street Journal

Jul 13, 2016

Managers and dental hygienists: your jobs are safe. Safe from robots, anyway.

A new McKinsey & Co. report says those jobs are among the least likely to be automated in the next decade. The consulting firm analyzed more than 2,000 work tasks for more than 800 occupations, using data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources to determine which industries and jobs are most at risk.

Manufacturing, food service and retailing are the most susceptible to automation, based on currently available technology, while sectors like health care and education were less likely, according to the report.

Predictable, repetitive tasks, such as packaging objects, welding on an assembly line and food preparation, were the most likely to be automated using currently available technologies. Such tasks account for about one-fifth of the time spent in U.S. workplaces, and even more in some types of manufacturing.

The report estimates that 59% of all manufacturing activities could be automated, a figure that rises to 90% for welders, cutters and solderers. Tougher to automate are the tasks of bosses, such as managing and developing people, or applying expertise to decision-making, planning and creative work, according to the report.

Find out what other types of jobs are unlikely to be automated.


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