More Proof That Female Workers Are Losing Out as Automation Takes Over Jobs

As technology continues to revolutionize the labor force, it appears that some workers might stand to lose more than others.

A recent study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research revealed that female employees are at “the highest risk” of having their jobs adopted by automation, as secretarial, receptionist and other administrative positions are still disproportionately occupied by women.

Although they make up just under half of the workforce, women represent 58 percent of workers who are in high-risk roles — that is, 20.2 million compared with 14.4 million of their male counterparts. Additionally, the prospect of having their jobs substituted by artificial intelligence varies by race and ethnicity, with Hispanic women facing the greatest financial threat.

“Automation will affect men the most in low-earning occupations, while women’s risk is more equally spread across better- and lower-paid occupations, indicating that women’s access to jobs that pay well will be particularly affected,” the IWPR stated, noting that women are overrepresented in roles including child care and education. (While these professions are more “difficult to automate,” they also come with lower wages and fewer benefits, noted IWPR.)

The study echoes last year’s report from the World Economic Forum, which indicated that 57 percent of the jobs likely to be disrupted by AI belong to women. Separately, a January report from Washington, D.C.-based think tank Brookings Institution found that a quarter of the country’s positions are also at “high risk” of automation — meaning that 70 percent or more of their tasks could be performed by machines.

The International Monetary Fund also shared a similar sentiment in a December report estimating that 26 million women in 30 countries are likely to have their jobs misplaced in the next 20 years due to technology, with an overall impact translating to 180 million jobs across the world.

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