Panera CEO Ron Shaich says robots will eventually replace his workers.
“Labor is going to go down,” Shaich said in an earnings call Wednesday. “And as digital utilization goes up — like the sun comes up in the morning — it is going to continue to go up. Digital utilization. You are seeing it happen in Panera today.”
Panera has been implementing technology like touch-screen ordering stations for customers, which allow them to bypass interacting with any human workers while dining at the restaurant.
But robots and “smart” computers aren’t just threatening the jobs of Panera’s workers.
They could replace up to half the US workforce within the next decade or two, according to a Bloomberg report published last year.
The report cites an Oxford University study that identified more than 700 occupations at risk of computer automation.
Here are the jobs that are most at risk, based on the study.
Robots could become more prevalent in retail in particular with the industry facing a labor shortage and growing pressure to pay higher wages.
The number of open retail positions has been growing, while the industry’s labor pool has been shrinking, according to data from the job site Indeed.
Retail job openings posted on the website increased 26% to 530,477 in the 12 months ending in September.
But interest in those jobs — which Indeed measures by the number of clicks on the postings — has waned, dropping 9% overall.
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Hayley Peterson is a senior reporter for Business Insider’s retail section.
Image: Humanoid robot “blushes” during the opening ceremony of a technology fair. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay.