McKinsey report names basic income as potential response to automation

Basic Income Earth Network

As many as 375 million people may have to switch jobs as a result of automation by 2030. This is according to a new report published by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), a private sector think tank and the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Company.

According to MGI researchers, “the transitions will be very challenging – matching or even exceeding the scale of shifts of agriculture and manufacturing we have seen in the past.” Such dramatic shifts in the global labor market will demand proportionately dramatic responses from governments, businesses, and individuals. Specifically, the MGI report emphasizes the importance of providing transition and income support to workers.

The report, entitled “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation”, builds on previous MGI research suggesting that 50% of global work activities could theoretically be automated by modifying existing technologies. While only 5% of jobs are at risk of disappearing entirely, 6 in 10 of jobs have 30% of constituent work activities that could be automated. According to MGI researchers, the question is not whether or not automation will alter the nature of work, but how long it will take.

Their analysis model potential net employment changes over 12 years for more than 800 occupations in 46 countries, focusing particularly on China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, and the USA. The report also accounts for several factors that could affect the pace of automation including technological and financial feasibility, demographic changes to labor markets, wage dynamics, regulatory responses, and social acceptance.

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