Global firm offers retraining to employees at risk of losing jobs to robots

by HRD28 Feb 2017
A global insurer is offering employees retraining for another role in the company, should they admit that their respective jobs could be done better by robots.

Insurance giant Aviva has extended the said offer to some 16,000 of its employees in Britain, The Sunday Times reported. The offer is considered the world’s first, as other employers have introduced automation without consultation.

According to experts, Aviva’s staff who work in call centres, assess customers’ credit ratings, and calculate the price of insurance policies are most likely to have to retrain, the report added.

Studies have shown that workers in some occupations ace a greater risk of losing their jobs to automation compared to others. A 2013 paper published by Oxford University found that 47% percent of total US employment stood at high risk of computerisation “over some unspecified number of years, perhaps a decade or two.”

Several jobs in the insurance sector – where Aviva operates – were found to have a high chance of being automated, including insurance underwriters, insurance claims and processing clerks, and insurance sales agents.

On the other hand, the low susceptibility of engineering and science occupations to computerisation is largely due to the high degree of creative intelligence they require, it explained.

“[A]s technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerisation – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence,” the study said.

“For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.”


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