The UK needs 1m new creative jobs by 2030 if it is to avoid leaving millions of people out of work, according to a landmark report
The robots are coming and only workers with highly creative jobs are immune to the threat of automation, according to new research into the UK labour market.
Some 40pc of jobs in the UK could be fully automated, Nesta’s Creativity versus Robots report found, but highly creative roles are much less likely to be taken by robots, with 86pc of these roles at low or no risk of automation in the UK.
The report ranked more than 500 professions involving varying levels of creativity to understand which jobs were under threat of automation.
Artists, musicians, graphic designers and computer game programmers are among the professions least likely to be replaced by robots over the next 20 years but archivists, farmers and distillers are under threat.
Nesta is calling on the Government to create 1m new creative jobs by 2030 to ensure that the UK economy does not end up with a redundant workforce.
The report cites a “sagging middle” in the labour market where machines and computers are replacing employees in routine jobs, such as supermarket checkouts.
The phenomenon is likely to generate increased income inequality between the workers in high-end creative jobs and those in unskilled roles, Nesta warned.
Driverless cars may “do away” with many routine tasks in transport and logistics, according to the report, while advances in mobile robotics may replace many craft activities. “Many jobs that are considered creative today may not be tomorrow,” it added.
“If left to a free market, there will be increased bifurcation in the labour market and greater inequality,” said Hasan Bakhshi, director of creative economy at Nesta. “Public policy needs to ensure that the workforce as a whole develops its creative skills, not just the privileged few. As a nation, we must not leave behind the people doing routine jobs.”
To help stimulate the creative economy, Nesta has laid out a five-point plan for the Government, which includes setting up a £100m fund to help kickstart creative clusters all over the UK, and a futher £100m for ultrafast broadband infrastructure to help creative firms develop new digital services, apps and content.
“Public policy plays an important role in supporting creating industry,” said Mr Bakhshi. “The UK has become a creative nation in part because of our strong arts school tradition, our first-class education system, and because of the UK’s tolerance to difference, and openness to other cultures, which has created a melting pot of creativity.”
Between 2011 and 2013, the annual growth rate in creative roles hit 3.6pc in the UK, outperforming many other industries and taking the total number of creative jobs to 2.6m. In order to meet the 1m job target, the creative sector must continue to grow 2.6pc each year.
To ensure that more young people hone their creative skills, the innovation organisation recommended that the current focus on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) be widened to include art, becoming STEAM.
“When you look at the history of innovation, it emerges from the multidisciplinary clash between science and the arts,” said Mr Bakhshi. “This is currently being discouraged.”
According to the 2015 report by the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, just 8.4pc of students currently combine arts and science subjects at AS level in the UK.
The National Lottery should funnel funding into video games as well as film, Nesta added, and local authorities and public funders, such as Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute, should work together to find new funding models that can support the arts in the UK.
“The UK’s highly educated, skilled, creative workforce is a shining light,” said Mr Bakhshi, who defines a creative occupation as “producing products whose final form is not decided in advance”.
“The resilience of these jobs in the face of widespread computerisation and the spread of robotic technologies will make it even more important in the future.”
This article was written by Rebecca Burn-Callander Enterprise Editor from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.