Automation and globalisation ‘will deepen north-south economic divide’

29 Jan 18

Automation and globalisation will put one in four jobs at risk in British cities outside the South, according to a report from Centre for Cities out today.

The ‘rise of the robots’ will boost jobs in the future but cities in the Midlands and the North will be more susceptible to job losses than cities in the South, analysis for the urban economic think-tank has found.

Findings in Cities Outlook 2018 showed that 18% of jobs are under threat in predominantly affluent Southern cities compared to 23% in cities in the North.

Topping the list of cities with the highest share of expected job loss are Mansfield, Sunderland and Wakefield with 29% each by 2030.

In contrast, Oxford and Cambridge will be the least affected with only a 13% each share of job losses each by 2030.

Among the cities most at risk of job losses are those that voted heavily against remaining the EU.

Centre for Cities' reseachers fear automation and globalisation could exaggerate the political divisions exposed by the EU referendum in 2016. 

Cities in the South are more likely to secure high skilled, high paying jobs in the future, the report concluded. 

Whereas, any growth in Northern cities is expected to be in low skilled private sector jobs, which is likely to contribute to an increased economic divide.

This has lead to calls for greater devolution by Centre for Cities chief executive Andrew Carter.

Carter said: “Automation and globalisation will bring huge opportunities to increase prosperity and jobs, but there is also a real risk that many people and places will lose out.”

“In an evermore divided country, it’s increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach from central government is inadequate to address the myriad issues that different places face.

“The government needs to give cities more powers and resources to tackle the issue that automation and globalisation will present.”

Centre for Cities analysis was based on data in a report from innovation foundation Nesta's report The Future of Skills: employment in 2030

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