There are many conflicting reports on automation in the job market and just how much it will impact certain sectors — and how soon.
Now, one recent study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research has added another component to the mix: gender. According to “Women, Automation, and the Future of Work,” women face a higher risk of being automated out of a job.
Positions cited as being highly likely to become automated, including cashiers and office administrators, are traditionally filled by women. After examining the most “at-risk” occupations — which comprise an estimated 35 million jobs — the report determined that for every seven men in such fields, there are 10 women. This discrepancy becomes even more pronounced when you consider that women make up a smaller segment of the overall workforce.
“Only a small number of studies to date have estimated the risk of automation separately for men and women, and none for the United States,” read the introduction of the report. "A better understanding of how women and men may be affected differentially by technological change can lead to more effective policies that share the benefits of technological change more equitably.”
The World Economic Forum highlighted the study in a recent blog post and suggested that some effects may be offset by focusing on skill development to train women for positions that pose fewer risks of obsolescence. “But for women already years or decades into their careers,” the article acknowledged, “skill building can be a challenge.”
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