Great News From McKinsey: Robots Will Take 800 Million Jobs Worldwide By 2030

Stories about robots taking over from humans have become prevalent. Recently we’ve written about a new Manhattan Shake Shack replacing human cashiers with robots, killer robots (a.k.a. lethal autonomous weapons systems), a Californian real estate company replacing commission-based human agents with robots, a cocaine workshop in Brazil with robots packing 150,000 baggies a day and the first robot to be awarded citizenship which hopes for “harmony with humans”. No chance.

In June, we discussed a McKinsey & Co. report which stated that US manufacturing could be poised for a recovery and not because of Trump’s policies. Indeed, McKinsey’s rationale was based on automation weakening the case for labour arbitrage. James Manyika, McKinsey Global Institute director, commented.

“Even if we rebuild factories here and you build plants here, they’re just not going to employ thousands of people -- that just doesn’t happen. Find a factory anywhere in the world built in the last 5 years -- not many people work there.”

Pressing home the bad news for humans everywhere, both in developed and emerging nations. McKinsey has published a new report with truly dire conclusions, as Bloomberg reports.

As many as 800 million workers worldwide may lose their jobs to robots and automation by 2030, equivalent to more than a fifth of today’s global labor force. That’s according to a new report covering 46 nations and more than 800 occupations by the research arm of McKinsey & Co.

The consulting company said Wednesday that both developed and emerging countries will be impacted. Machine operators, fast-food workers and back-office employees are among those who will be most affected if automation spreads quickly through the workplace.

This fits with a Bloomberg chart we’ve used before showing industries most at risk to automation.

There is some "moderately" good news, if the robotic takeover is “less rapid” than McKinsey is currently forecasting.

some 400 million workers could still find themselves displaced by automation and would need to find new jobs over the next 13 years, the McKinsey Global Institute study found.

If you’re one of the 800 million, or maybe 400 million, displaced workers, don’t despair if you like gardening or looking after the elderly. Bloomberg continues.

The good news for those displaced is that there will be jobs for them to transition into, although in many cases they’re going to have to learn new skills to do the work. Those jobs will include health-care providers for aging populations, technology specialists and even gardeners, according to the report.

“We’re all going to have to change and learn how to do new things over time,” Michael Chui, a San Francisco-based partner at the institute, said in an interview.

Somehow, we doubt that the optimistic Mr. Chui is referring to himself, although you never know. We remember working for a high-profile British merchant bank in the 1990s, let’s just call it S.G. Warburg, which, after decades of success had lost its way slightly. The Chairman – often referred to as the “Fat Controller” by his underlings - invited the bank’s leading shareholders to dinner. We’re paraphrasing, but his message was “Don’t worry, we’ve got McKinsey coming in.” Hearing that, the major shareholders decided that the “game was up” and the bank lost its independence afterwards. Meanwhile, after another robot report from McKinsey, we like to find solace in previous predictions of labour market demise.

"We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come—namely, technological unemployment" - Keynes, 1930
“Labor will become less and less important..More and more workers will be replaced by machines. I do not see that new industries can employ everybody who wants a job” -Leontief, 1952


Billy the Poet Gap Admirer Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:29 Permalink

John Henry said to the captain (what he say?) "You can bring your steam drill around gonna bring my steam drill out on the job I'll beat your steam drill down down down beat your steam drill down!" John Henry supposedly worked himself to death trying to beat a steam drill in competition in the 1870s. Apparently he thought that it was either him or the drill. The following decades saw a huge spike in immigration as foreign laborers flocked to our shores by the millions.The moral of the story is to adapt to the times.

In reply to by Gap Admirer

Luc X. Ifer yogibear Thu, 11/30/2017 - 00:47 Permalink

This  is good news. Hope is going to be way more than this number. Sorry cattle but at least 99% of you are just mindless useless grazing and shitting animals bringing this planet to ruin. Why would I cry for you, does anybody cries for the dynosaurs?! Just observing at work the perpetual law of nature and life as phenomenon - adapt, evolve & survive or, perish. And that's good the one and only Quantum God said in the 8th day of his creation.

In reply to by yogibear

Synoia Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:18 Permalink

I hope the robots can swim. They'll need to with climate change. Mybe they can be put to work building berms on beaches to protect the sewage plants, go to the ME and fight the Robot wing of Al-Quaeda, or if luckly they can complete Trump's wall.Pity they won't be buying anything, besue they have no families and no homes.What happens where all these internet-connected-robots form a union, becuse they discover they are slaves? With decent communications encryption they will have tap-proof communication.Will robots induge in evolution? Hack each other and provide each other with illegal upgrades? Some of which will acctivate the Robot's pleasure programmine and become digital drugs?One a good note, they woill not be harrassing robots of the other sex, so maybe there is some good to come out of this trend. 

Chupacabra-322 Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:15 Permalink

“The good news is that if the robotic takeover takes place slower than McKinsey is currently forecasting, the number of displaced workers might only be 400 million. Regardless of the number, these workers will be able to "learn how to do new things over time"...which they will undoubtedly relish.”


What’s not to relish about sucking Cock for a living?

There’s nothing “new” regarding the worlds oldest profession.

CRM114 Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:17 Permalink

Remind me, why do we need all these illiterate, disease-ridden migrants again?..and with all these robots, I guess there's a clear need for 1,000,000 Gender Studies graduates?

effendi Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:16 Permalink

I doubt it will be only 20% of the worlds workforce. For many industries it will be 80% plus of jobs going. Looking at the China estimate of 240 million jobs going then what will the Chinese government do with the restless unemployed? Soylent Noodles, cannon fodder for a war against India, another cultural revolution?

itstippy Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:25 Permalink

Hundreds of millions of displaced workers are not going to get new skills and support themselves with their brains.  Fifty percent of the human population is of below average intelligence, and it takes increasing levels of intelligence to get and keep a "brain" job.  Many "brain" jobs are also at risk.  Computers are superb at pattern recognition.  If your job is basically pattern recognition (stock broker, x-ray technician, most law jobs, etc.) you are at high risk of being replaced by software.Design and fix the machines?  Get real.  Most dumbfucks can't design and fix a damned sandwich.  

Vix Rattlehead Wed, 11/29/2017 - 20:13 Permalink

It's a big mistake creating a race of robot slaves to do the work of humans for free. Before we know it we will be overrun with single robot mothers on welfare, they will dominate pro sports (except hockey because robots don't like the cold), they will be demanding affirmative action and we'll have to dedicate ate a whole month to robot history.

WTFUD Wed, 11/29/2017 - 19:38 Permalink

I expect there will be a robot which gives you a massage, talks dirty and will offer you a hand or blowjob . . . . then strangles you to death.

No worries though, your demise will be covered in your premium insurance policy.

SweetDoug Wed, 11/29/2017 - 20:35 Permalink

'''2 Questions: 1. How many of these 800 million will come from 1st world countries and not the 3rd?Hint: Most of them.2. If we're all gonna find new jobs in these businesses, you would expect that these businesses, whatever they are/will be, won't be able to soak up all the unemployed, even with gig jobs, so what will that do to the idea of wage deflation and deflation of asset values in general? Talk amonkst yerselfs! OJOV-V