Third of NZ jobs to be automated by 2036 - report

Long Lunch 27/06/2018
Photo credit: Getty.

A new report suggests a wave of automation will wipe out a third of jobs in New Zealand by 2036.

The Megatrends report by Infometrics forecasts the future of work and found as many as 31 percent of existing jobs in the rural sector will be affected by automation, particularly forestry, agriculture and manufacturing.

“[However] it’s right through the economy, not just the agricultural sector; you look at retail and tourism – all of those are under a lot of pressure as well,” Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan told RadioLIVE.

He says lower-skilled workers' jobs are most at risk.

 “As a business you can continue to say I’m not going to go down that route, I’m going to hold onto my staff and make sure that I’m giving jobs to people but there are going to be other businesses out there, whether they’re New Zealand based or international businesses, which are going to say the most cost effective way for us to expand or grow is to employ machinery,” Mr Kiernan said.

“When we look at the labour market at the moment we’ve got unemployment down [fewer than] four and a half percent, we’ve got a lot of upward pressure on wages at the bottom end of the spectrum with the Government looking to push up the minimum wage as well.

Gareth Kiernan told Wendyl Nissen that if those pressures continue they will only accelerate market trends towards automation.

It’s a big international trend and for little old New Zealand it is pretty irresistible.

The report suggests centres like Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington would be less affected by automation than the regions.

Listen to the full interview with Gareth Kiernan above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.