In the Great Robot Job Takeover, Women Are Less Likely to Suffer Than Men

Victor H/

Fields such as manufacturing and transport tend to be dominated by men.

The robot apocalypse is almost here and machines are coming for our jobs. But women might have a bit longer until they feel the impact.

About 30% of jobs in the UK—over 10 million workers— are at risk of being replaced by automation as artificial intelligence progresses over the next 15 years, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. But the report estimates that about 35% of occupations typically held by men are at high risk from automation, against about 26% of jobs held by women.

Fields such as manufacturing and transport, which require a lower level of education and social skills and are most susceptible to automation, tend to be dominated by men. Meanwhile, education, health, and social care—jobs dominated by women—are considered the hardest to automate.

“A key driver of our industry-level estimates is the fact that manual and routine tasks are more susceptible to automation, while social skills are relatively less automatable,” said Jon Andrews, the head of technology and investments at PwC, adding that in the future, “creative and critical thinking will be highly valued, as will emotional intelligence.”

This gender divide was also reflected in a 2013 study (pdf) by two Oxford researchers who analyzed the skills required for over 700 different occupations. They found that jobs in construction and carpentry, a field where men who hold 97% of the jobs in the US, had a 70% chance of being replaced by robots.

But nursing, where women make up 93% of the workforce, has a 0.009% chance of being automated.