Automation will affect women twice as much as men. This is why

Karla Avelar, executive director of the Association for Communicating and Training Trans Women (COMCAVIS TRANS), works at her office in San Salvador, El Salvador, May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas - RTX35M8N

Women are more likely to be employed in jobs that face the highest automation risks Image: REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

Kate Taylor
Reporter, Business Insider
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As automation threatens the existence of millions of jobs across the US, not every American is equally at risk of being replaced by a robot.

Twice as many women than men are likely to lose their jobs as automation replaces human labor, according to a recent report by the Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis (ISEA).

That's because women are more likely to be employed in jobs that face the highest automation risks. For example, 97% of cashiers are expected to lose their jobs in the coming years to automation. As of 2016, 73% of cashiers are women.

Women are not the only group that ISEA found will be disproportionately impacted by the rise of automation.

Hispanic and African-American workers are 25% and 13% more likely, respectively, to lose their jobs to automation than white workers. Asian workers are 11% less likely, compared to white workers.

Image: Statista

Researchers analyzed 2016 employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and research from Oxford on which jobs are most susceptible to automation to find out which groups would be hit hardest by employers increasing reliance on machines over human workers.

The biggest factor, according to the ISEA, is education level. People without a high school degree face an almost six times higher risk than those with a doctorate of losing their livelihoods, as they are more likely to be working jobs that are less complex and easier to automate.

Researchers emphasized in the report that new technology will likely also result in new types of employment, replacing lost jobs. However, with the new forms of employment, there is no guarantee that these new jobs will provide well-paying livelihoods for the most vulnerable demographics.

"Decisions to get education or embark on certain careers are diverse and influenced by many factors," Professor Johannes Moenius, director of ISEA, said in a statement. "But we do think it's important to see how different groups may be affected."

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