Automation could wipe out 600,000 construction jobs by 2040.
The Telegraph have published an article after new research by UK Construction Company Mace predicts hits in the industry due to new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous vehicles.
It predicts that by 2040 the number of bricklayers in UK building sites will fall from the current 73,000 people to just 4,300. Carpenters, internal fitters, labourers and painter numbers are also set to plummet as more roles become automated.
Although new technology would mean jobs disappearing it would also create new opportunities for new roles such as programmers for robotic builders. The report warned unless training is in place so that workers are equipped with new skills needed for the jobs of the future created by technological innovation the sector is likely to face crisis.
Mark Reynolds, Mace Chief Executive, said: “Everyone acknowledges the current skills shortages need to be addressed. Our research highlights the opportunities offered by the digital revolution.” Rise of the robot brickie
The predictions echo a recent report from infrastructure company Balfour Beatty, which predicted construction sites could be virtually human-free by 2050. It envisaged autonomous diggers and cranes, self-assembling buildings and fleets of drones surveying work.
A government review titled Modernise or die on the future of the construction industry gave similar warnings when it was published last year. Its author Mark Farmer, chief executive of construction consultancy Cast, agreed with the latest study’s findings, saying “technology will bring a stepchange to the construction, which has remained an artisan based for decades.”
He added: “Whether it’s one in three or one in four jobs that go remains to be seen but technology will see a massive overhaul of numbers in the industry. Construction has to increase productivity and change might be forced on it in the form of automation, manufacturing process and artificial intelligence to achieve it.”