Are robots taking over our jobs?

Are robots taking over our jobs?

17th May 2021

Are robots taking over our jobs?

ElectricalDirect has looked at the jobs most likely (and least likely) to be taken over by robots, with the rise of AI looking set to make some jobs things of the past. The study also looked into the UK cities and towns most at risk of losing out to automation. 

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Working with electrical supplies means manual labour. Lots of it. It’s a job you can’t do behind a desk - you have to be out there, meeting people, using electrical tools, screws and fixings and getting down on your hands and knees. But what if all that changed?

What if instead of you working with your hands, it was a robot, working with artificial intelligence to do the job in a fraction of the time?

The 10 jobs most at risk of automation

Jobs Most Likely To Be Automated

Waiters and waitresses are most likely to see their jobs automated

According to our research, it’s the people who bring us our food who are most likely to be replaced by robots. Gone will be the polite chat before you order and the occasional ask of, “Is everything ok?” Instead they’ll be replaced with touchscreen menus and instant payments, with the job facing a 72.81% risk of robot takeover in the future. 

In fact, the whole hospitality industry faces automation. Bar staff face a 70.66% risk, while for kitchen staff the odds are 69.2%. 

COVID-19 has already seen traditional jobs in bars be taken over by computers. No longer do you order your drink in person, instead tapping on an app and waiting for the drinks to be brought to your table. Payments have also all become contactless, eliminating the need for anyone to stand behind a till and hand over your change. 

Forget passing your thanks to the chef. Instead, pass them on to Cookbot 3000. 

Shelf stackers and sales staff could both become robotic 

In many warehouses across the world, shelves are already stacked by machines, capable of lifting heavier weights at a much faster pace. That change is only set to increase, with shelf stackers’ jobs 71.7% likely to become automated. 

Out of the warehouse and onto the sales floor, things don’t look much better for human kind. Sales staff face a 70.69% chance of seeing their jobs taken over by AI, making your entire purchase journey free of any human interaction. 

Farm work has a 69.05% probability of being automated

Laying seeds, working the land and harvesting crops is one of the oldest jobs in civilization. Long before many jobs even existed, people were out growing their own food and tending to animals. But soon all that manual labour could become computerised, with machinery 69.05% likely to take over a farm worker’s job. 

No more muddy boots and sheep dogs - instead your food will be harvested by a fleet of machines, flat caps optional. 

The 10 jobs least likely to be taken by robots

Doctors and nurses are safe from robots, for now

If you work in medicine, there’s only an 18.11% chance that a robot will come for your career. The training and skill required to work for the NHS means that while machinery might help you do your job, it will always take a human to make sure it’s done correctly. 

Pharmacists are also fairly safe. Their jobs face a 24.18% chance of automation, meaning you can still pick up your prescription from a friendly face and not an automatic dispenser. 

Teachers still need that human touch

The education of our future generations is in safe human hands for the time being. With a 20.61% risk of robotic takeover, secondary school teachers need not look over their shoulders any time soon. Being late with your homework with a person is one thing, it’s a whole lot scarier if you’ve got an angry machine looking back at you. 

University staff are also ok. They only face a 20.27% risk, while for primary school teachers it’s 22.03%.

Automated cities: the cities and towns where robots are rising

Wigan is most at risk of its workforce becoming automated

Robots aren’t roaming free everywhere. In some parts of the UK, they’re much more probable than others. Wigan is one of the cities leading the way for the robot revolution. Workers there are 50.29% likely to become automated, with Doncaster (50.27%), Sunderland (49.84%), Scarborough (49.77%) and Gateshead (49.35%) completing the top five. 

At the other end of the table, London is the least likely to be impacted by the robot revolution. The capital’s workforce only faces a 33.04% chance of seeing jobs automated, followed by Watford (34.48%), Oxford (34.53%), Cambridge (37.35%) and Woking (38.95%). This is due to London having a higher proportion of roles that could not be completed by a robot. 

Will electricians ever become automated?

But what about electricians? Do you need to worry that your work will be done by a robot, with all the tools attached to its gadget arm? Well, not just yet. 

Electricians face a 50.75% chance of becoming automated, with the skills you need to perform your work unable to be replicated by a machine for the time being. 

If you work in construction the chance is even smaller, with automation only 25.70% likely, while plumbers (52.11%) and carpenters (53.43%) face a slightly higher risk of robots taking over.

While advancements in electrical tools will certainly make your job easier, they certainly won’t make it go away. Just make sure your drill doesn’t get too cocky. 


The data analysed 20million jobs, looking at the risk of automation, by analysing whether repetitive and routine tasks would be carried out quicker by an algorithm written human e.g. robots. Therefore, jobs that tend to need less human intervention, came out at a much higher risk. Location data is based on areas where jobs require the most training, thus lowering their risk of automation.