Human Capital: Disruption, opportunity and resilience in London’s workforce

This fresh analysis of London’s workforce reveals which jobs and businesses will be most affected by automation, migration and wage pressures, and where new opportunities may arise for London.

London’s economy has been on a roll in recent decades, establishing the city as a leading global centre for finance and business services, cultural industries, higher education and tech.

But times are changing: the growth of automation, Brexit and wage pressures have the potential to shake up London’s labour market.


London’s workers and employers are expected to face a perfect storm of disruption…

Our research found that almost a third of London’s jobs have high potential for automation. The impact is likely to be highest for low- and medium-skilled workers, particularly in sectors such as wholesale and retail, transportation and storage, and accommodation and food.

However London’s economy and its workers are well-placed to adapt…

Our research also found that London’s economy and its workers are well placed to adapt to the changing nature of work, compared to the rest of the UK. High skill levels, strong specialist sectors, and the likely creation of new jobs stand the capital in good stead:

  • London’s workers are better qualified than the UK average: 53 per cent have a degree compared to 31 per cent in the rest of the UK.
  • New jobs are likely to be created in London’s IT, finance, education, manufacturing and health sectors.
  • London’s specialist sectors are relatively resilient to automation owing to the creative and social intelligence skills required.

But policymakers should also think radically about how to respond.

Despite these strengths, action – from school age to lifelong learning – is needed to ensure that Londoners have the creative, social and learning skills to adapt and thrive in a period of rapid change.

A sharper focus on cognitive skills, but also creative, problem solving and social skills, will be required to enable Londoners to benefit from these opportunities. Businesses are already redesigning their business models, and policymakers will need to take action to equip workers with the resilience and adaptability to face this new landscape.

Read the report

Responding to the report, Daniel Gilbert, CEO of Brainlabs said:

“Since the first industrial revolution, automation has been a huge driver of economic and social progress. We are on the brink of a new wave of automation, which will affect nearly every industry, greatly improving productivity but also threatening many people’s jobs.

Within the digital media industry, automation has changed everything for the better, greatly improving measurement, targeting and performance. It has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs, based upon the new technology of digital advertising.

Every sector is different, but the challenge will be similar: anticipate changes in the labour market, and adapt to them now. By embracing automation, rather than resisting it, businesses and individuals have the opportunity to achieve remarkable growth in the next few decades.”

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