As Many as 800 Million Jobs Worldwide Could Vanish by 2030 Due to Automation


Automation Could Eliminate 73 Million Jobs in the U.S.

A new report by McKinsey & Company warns that as many as 800 million jobs around the world could vanish as a result of automation by 2030. In the U.S., 73 million jobs could be lost over the next 12 years.

The report, which covers 46 nations and more than 800 occupations, suggests that in about 60% of jobs, one-third of activities could be automated. “We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world,” says the report, entitled “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions In A Time Of Automation.”

Automation will result in a huge shift in occupations over the coming years, meaning people will most likely need to learn new skills to find different jobs. “Of the total displaced, 75 million to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills,” says the report.

It doesn’t matter where you live either. Automation will have a huge impact on both developed and emerging companies.“Our key finding is that while there may be enough work to maintain full employment to 2030 under most scenarios, the transitions will be very challenging—matching or even exceeding the scale of shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing we have seen in the past,” says the report.


Jobs most likely to be affected by automation include fast food workers, machine operators, and back-office employees. The occupations least likely to be replaced by robots and computers include plumbers, gardeners, childcare workers, and eldercare workers.

The authors point out that workers in China will likely be the most affected by the switch to automation, with up to 100 million workers, or 12% of the country’s workforce, needing to switch occupations by 2030.

In the U.S., 39 million to 73 million jobs could be displaced by automation. That said, around 20 million of those workers can be expected to find work in similar occupations, but they might need to take on different tasks.

Or, put another way, 13 million to 54 million American workers—as much as one third of the U.S. workforce—will need to to learn new skills for entirely different occupations.

For Japan, nearly half of the workforce may need to learn new skills to find jobs.

The robots are coming, but most workers will have time to adapt.



What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages,” McKinsey & Company, last accessed November 29, 2017.