1 Robots to take 800m jobs by 2030 (BBC) Up to 800 million global workers will lose their jobs by 2030 and be replaced by robotic automation, a new report has found. The study of 46 countries and 800 occupations by the McKinsey Global Institute found that up to one-fifth of the global work force will be affected.
It said one-third of the workforce in richer nations like Germany and the US may need to retrain for other jobs. Machine operators and food workers will be hit hardest, the report says. Poorer countries that have less money to invest in automation will not be affected as much, according to McKinsey.
India, the authors write, will only have about 9% of jobs replaced by emerging technologies. The authors see tasks carried out by mortgage brokers, paralegals, accountants, and some back-office staff as especially vulnerable to automation.
Jobs requiring human interaction such as doctors, lawyers, teachers and bartenders are seen by McKinsey as less prone to automation. Specialised lower-wage jobs, such as gardening, plumbing and care work, will also be less affected by automation, the study predicted.
In developed countries, the need for a university education will grow, as jobs that require less education shrink. In the US alone, 39 to 73 million jobs may be eliminated by 2030, but about 20 million of those displaced workers may be able to easily transfer to other industries, according to the McKinsey report.
2 Canada tests ‘basic income’ effect on poverty (San Francisco Chronicle) Former security guard Tim Button considers how a sudden increase in his income from an unusual social experiment has changed his life in this Canadian industrial city along the shore of Lake Ontario.
Sipping coffee, Button says he has been unable to work because of a fall from a roof, and the financial boost from Ontario Province’s new “basic income” program has enabled him to make plans to visit distant family for Christmas for the first time in years. It has also prompted him to eat healthier, schedule a long-postponed trip to the dentist and mull taking a course to help him get back to work.
“It’s making a huge difference for me,” Button said of the almost 60 percent increase in monthly benefits he started receiving in October from the Ontario government. Ontario intends to provide a basic income to 4,000 people in three different communities as part of an experiment to evaluate whether providing more money to people on public assistance or low incomes will make a significant difference in their lives.
How people like Button respond over the next three years is being closely watched by social scientist, economists, and policy makers in Canada and around the world. “Does it produce better outcomes in terms of education for the kids? Does it produce better health status after three years of this kind of living? Does it produce better affinity with the workplace if there is not a total disincentive to work?” said Hugh Segal, a former Canadian senator consulted by the Ontario government for the pilot project.
Technology leaders such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla founder Elon Musk have promoted the idea as a way to address the potential loss of jobs to automation and artificial intelligence. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the experiment is rooted in a fear there will be a mass dislocation of jobs not seen since the Industrial Revolution that governments will have to address.
3 Just Eat enters FTSE 100 (Rupert Neate in The Guardian) Just Eat, the online takeaway company, has been officially promoted into the FTSE 100 list of Britain’s blue chip companies, with a valuation of £5.5bn – making it worth half a billion pounds more than the UK’s second biggest supermarket chain.
The UK’s love affair with having pizzas, curries and kebabs delivered to their door has spawned a mobile food business with no products and no outlets that is more highly valued than Sainsbury’s, which sells 90,000 products through 1,400 stores – and also owns the Argos chain. Just Eat is also worth more than Morrisons and Marks & Spencer.
Little-known Danish technology entrepreneur Bo Bendtsen is the single-biggest shareholder in Just Eat with a 13% stake in the business now worth just over £730m. But Bendtsen, who had just 88 followers on Twitter at the time of writing, did not found the company, which provides takeaways to 19 million people.
The man who came up with the idea was another Dane, Jesper Buch. He hit upon the idea of Just Eat when he was on a diplomatic internship in Norway in 2000 and set the company up with four friends in his basement. He sold his entire Just Eat stake to a private equity firm for £3m in 2008.
Buch, now 44, came up with the idea for Just Eat when he couldn’t find a phone number online to order pizza when he was hungry in Olso. Realising there was a “massive gap in the market” he created his own website which would list all nearby restaurants. He had hit on “the perfect business model”, he told Money Week. “I did not need to handle any product – I could just charge a commission for every transaction.”
Those commissions (13% for existing restaurants and 14% for newcomers, plus a £699 sign-up fee for restaurants joining the service) added up fast. The company now works with 28,000 restaurants in the UK, delivering more than 2m meals a week. It boasts that “nobody offers more variety when it comes to bringing people food”.
More than 800 of Just Eat’s 2,500 staff from across the world (Sainsbury’s, by comparison, has 195,000 staff) came together to celebrate the company’s success last week by creating the world’s biggest human image of a pizza.