Automation poses threat to Irish jobs, new survey finds

Three out of four Irish people think automation and robots will cause unemployment, a new survey claims.

However, the iReach poll also says that most people believe robots will be good for the economy, estimating that the jobs under threat may exclude their own. The poll of 1,000 people found that just 16pc see “no threat” to employment in Ireland as advances are made in technology.

And 76pc of Irish people believe that job automation will contribute to a rise in unemployment here. However, 55pc view job automation as “positive for the Irish economy”.

Almost everyone (94pc) believes that “large-scale job automation” will occur at some point in the future, with just under half (46pc) predicting that it will happen “in the very near future”.

As to what kind of automation might come next, two-thirds of us doubt that robot receptionists or assistants on wheels will become common in hotels or retail outlets.

“Fifty-six per cent predict that this robotic way of running a hospitality business will not become a threat in Ireland, with the top cited reason that a high level of customer service trumps a robot, as people want the personal touch,” said iReach. Respondents’ experience of automated systems to date are dominated by self-checkouts (80pc), online check-ins (74pc) and ATMs (91pc).

Recent research from the consultancy firm McKinsey estimates that jobs such as food preparation will be almost entirely wiped out by robots by 2040. However, it predicts that jobs such as software development will remain immune.

The McKinsey research also predicts that job replacement will disproportionately affect men and the lower-paid.

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