Pick any demographic: City-dwellers, people in rural areas, blue-collar workers, or white-collar workers. There’s some expert out there claiming the era of automation will hit that group harder than any other.
One expert, though, is looking at the positive outcomes of automation. He’s claiming a certain group of workers might not only avoid falling victim to robot replacements en masse, but could actually benefit from automation. Meet the new champs of the automation era: women.
The man behind this favorable prediction for the ladies is Fabrizio Carmignani, a professor of economics at Griffith University. He wrote an article in The Conversation supporting his belief that women have a better shot than men of coming out on top as automation infiltrates every aspect of our lives.
According to Carmignani, women simply hold a larger percentage of the jobs least expected to go the way of the robot – in particular, those that require “high levels of social competence and empathy,” such as nursing.
He cites several studies backing his prediction, including one by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) focused on the organization’s 35 nations. That study concluded that the chance of a woman losing her job to automation is “significantly lower” than that of a man.
Another study focused on just eight advanced economies (Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Japan, and Korea). It concluded that men were at an equal or higher risk of losing their jobs to digitalization (an extension of automation) than women in every nation except Japan.
Women also have history on their side, according to Carmignani. He notes that innovation in the world of work traditionally leads to more jobs for women, not fewer. That doesn’t necessarily mean the same will hold true in the upcoming era of automation, but it’s yet another sign pointing toward a brighter future for women than men.
Of course, Carmignani’s is just one prediction (albeit one backed by sound research). Don’t like it? Here’s another: Women will lose more jobs to automation than men. Want to split the difference? Women will lose more jobs initially, but men will lose more jobs overall.
That’s the problem with trying to predict the future of automation-caused job loss. There’s no way to prove anyone right or wrong. For now, all we can do is focus on minimizing the negative impact across all demographics, gender and otherwise.
But if you’re a woman in need of some good news today, we give you permission to assume your job is safe.