Working women, watch out for your replacement robots

Bridget Boakye January 24, 2018

The World Economic Forum (WEF), the independent Swiss-based international foundation which organizes summits and reports on the state of global affairs just released its report, ‘Towards a Reskilling Revolution: A Future of Jobs for All‘.

While a lot of news agencies and publications are running click-bait headlines such as “ The robots are coming… for women’s jobs” and half-baked stories that can turn on the verge of fear mongering, it is important to tease out more detail.

Here are some brief facts from the report:

  • The report is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics insight that 1.4 million jobs in the United States will be vulnerable to disruption from technology and other factors by 2026
  • The WEF report, which was done in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, sampled 1,000 job types across the US economy and these jobs encompass 96 percent of employment in that country
  • The report found that of the jobs expected to be disrupted by technology – specifically automation – between now and 2026, 57 percent belong to women
  • This is because many jobs still lean heavily towards one gender or another. For example, the report referenced that secretarial and administrative assistant roles are largely filled by women. As automation takes over duties like administrative tasks, some 164,000 women’s jobs could be at risk
  • Some other jobs at heavy risk for disruption are assembly-line workers, secretaries, cashiers, customer service representatives, truck drivers, radio and TV announcers, fast-food chefs, mining machine operators and computer programmers
  • Finally, the report makes a compelling case that not only will reskilling – gaining the skills that allows one to work alongside machines – transition people into good-quality jobs, but for most people, especially women, this transition would lead to higher paying jobs (increased wages for 74 percent of women) and actually help close the gender wage gap

As the report shares, the future of work is unpredictable and not predetermined and as such, “the path to a good life appears increasingly difficult to identify and attain for a growing number of people across our global community”.

It will be incredibly difficult for many to find meaningful work as we enter this new phase of the labor market evolution, yet, giving intentional and long-term planning by individuals, employers, and governments, we can create a future that presents more opportunity and benefits for all, and especially women.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: January 24, 2018


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