Is the rise of the robot relocation’s biggest threat?

Much talk has been focused on the effects of BREXIT on the UK’s employment market but is the bigger threat actually from robots? As farfetched as it seems, the 21st century scourge may come from a totally man made invention.

In fact, think tank Reform says 250,000 admin jobs in the UK will be at risk from technology by 2030. Worryingly, the Bank of England puts this figure much higher, claiming in 2016 that up to 15 million jobs in Britain could be at risk – mostly in the administrative, clerical and production areas.

Although the typical image of a robot harks back to Metal Mickey – the crude 1980s kids TV character – the threat takes many guises, including automated systems and artificial intelligence, in addition to physical robots.

If you think the relocation market won’t be affected because is thrives mainly on the redeployment of the most senior and skilled of people, think again. The Bank of England also pointed out that the diversity of job roles potentially affected is growing at the same frightening speed as robotics are advancing – especially cognitive technology – citing managers, directors and senior officials as also in the robot replacement line.

Automation and artificial intelligence, together with an increased ability for mobile working and a shift towards more agile workspaces, has masses of potential to reform the relocation sector as we know it.“The fundamental dynamics of a traditional business set up is likely to change,” comments Alex Hancock at Klippa Relocation. “Cloud computing, wifi and the internet have already prompted a massive shift towards working outside of a centralized office and when you add in the loss of administrative staff due to app-based technology, online trading and automation, companies may look to rethink their approach to employment and restructure how they deploy staff.”

There may be a short fuse in the rise of the robot, however. Research in October 2017 by job site Adzuna found that employers still prefer using clerical staff in the flesh as opposed to automated services, with value being placed on the efficiency of real people, with a rising number of clerical vacancies and salaries on the up. “One saving grace is the flip back towards old fashioned face-to-face customer service and the need for an accurate personal touch,” adds Alex.

“The further we move towards automation, artificial intelligence and a robotic workforce, the louder the backlash becomes. The detrimental shift to a totally faceless job market should not be underestimated, though, as its impact would reverberate throughout every company’s structure and, ultimately, change the relocation market. It will be interesting to see if we, as the inventors, exert self control and pull back on the rapid development of walking, talking and free thinking robots or whether we will engineer our own downfall, concludes Alex.”

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