Tuesday 12 July 2016 9:25 am

A quarter of business services jobs are at risk from robots

First, the bad news…. a quarter of all jobs in the business services sector are at risk from being taken over by robots.

Automation of jobs is likely to make at least 800,000 jobs in the sector obsolete, but as many as one million could be at risk over the next 20 years, according to Deloitte.

The good news is that those numbers are lower than what's predicted for all jobs across the country – 36 per cent are expected to be automated by 2035, on average – leaving business services jobs less susceptible.

Read more: Robot rubbish: Most workers don't fear automation

"The business services workforce in the UK will fundamentally change over the next 10 to 20 years,"  said Deloitte partner for financial transformation Simon Barnes.

"Repetitive and highly structured job roles are likely to be reduced, while new, higher-skilled roles will be created. As automation becomes increasingly more cognitive and less robotic, the business services sector must move fast to make sure they recruit and retrain people with the right skills and knowledge to address this.”

Read more: The EU wants to class robots as "electronic persons"

The turn towards technology is most likely in routine jobs and is being driven by the falling costs of such a move and the rising cost of labour, with companies identifying automation as a way to reduce costs.

A manufacturer in China replaced 60,000 workers with robots, but business and finance jobs are not immune. Royal Bank of Scotland earlier this year axed more than 500 jobs and replaced them with robo-advisers.