Science & Tech

These are the countries where women are most at risk of losing their jobs to robots

iStock / eclipse_images

When robots eventually take over the world, women at least have one thing to look forward to: they'll be on top for once when it comes to jobs.

Sure, they'll still beneath our probably robot overlords – but at least they'll be better off than men for once.

That's according to a new study from Website Builder Expert (WBE), which looks at how robots will affect gender disparity.

WBE found that – in 80 per cent of the 33 OECD countries in the study – men are more at risk of losing their job to a robot than women.

And, given that experts predict 800,000 million jobs experts will be taken over by robots, that's a lot of livelihoods down the drain.

The study also revealed the countries with the highest probability of job losses as a result of automation for both men and women.

Top ten countries: Women's probability of automation (per cent)

1 Japan 63.056

2 Chile 55.726

3 Turkey 55.584

4 Mexico 55.277

5 Slovakia 52.699

6 Republic of Korea 52.692

7 Czech Republic 51.851

8 Hungary 51.762

9 Italy 51.757

10 Germany 51.217

Top 10 countries: Men's probability of automation (per cent) 

1 Japan 65.257

2 Mexico 58.611

3 Chile 57.602

4 Turkey 57.004

5 Republic of Korea 56.69

6 Slovakia 56.395

7 Hungary 54.402

8 Latvia 53.172

9 Poland 52.528

10 Italy 52.495

So, are robots all we needed to close the gender pay gap all along? It's not that simple. 

While men who are at the most at risk of automation overall, their professions are also spread more widely: male farmers may be severely at risk, but male CEOs and directors are far less likely to be.

Meanwhile, jobs dominated by women are heavily clustered into sectors that have more than 50 percent risk of automation – such as administrative support, service work and technicians. Virtually every role that working women occupy is under intense risk of automation, and the same cannot be said for men.

Plus, in countries where men are most at risk of automation, the difference tend to be marginal. 

Tech hub Japan tops the tables for the number of jobs potentially being taken by robots for both sexes: the probability of automation for women is a staggering 63 per cent versus 65 per cent for men. The vast majority of Japanese women (57 per cent) work as service workers or administrative support staff -– two of the roles with the highest probability of automation in the future.

Interestingly, women's jobs are at a higher risk in the UK than in in the US: while American women come sixth safest in the ranking, British women land in eight place. This is perhaps because women in the US take up 15 per cent of senior leadership roles whereas women in the UK only take up 8 per cent of these roles.

Latvia will be home to the biggest gender divide, predicts the research: Latvian men are much more likely to be replaced by robots than Latvian women. While the male working population in Latvia is at the 8th most at risk of automation,  the female population comes in 23rd position.

Alex English, who headed up this research for WBE, told indy100

In recent years we have seen so many developments in AI – robots that not only look lifelike but can give us a run for our money playing chess, operating our cars – even doing our jobs for us.

But we wanted to know in reality, which jobs actually are under threat, when will we start to see the change happen and how does it impact men and women? 

The data shows that both men and women's roles are under threat but in different ways in different countries.

The only result that comes out the same is Japan which tops the list for automation for both men and women's jobs – this is despite the fact that Japan has invested significantly less in AI than the US and China.

More: Watch this robot build an affordable house in less than a day

The Conversation (0)