APAC region to lose 63 million jobs to automation by 2040

Interiors of a modern factory with orange robots
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The five largest economies in the Asia Pacific region are more at risk of physical robot-based automation than both Europe and North America.

That's according to a Future of Jobs Forecast from Forrester which suggests that by 2040, 63 million jobs in India, China, South Korea, Australia and Japan could be lost to automation, with industries such as construction and agriculture set to be hit hardest.

Forrester's Future Of Jobs Forecast, which looks at the state of automation from 2020 to 2040, suggests that the green economy will potentially help to offset some job losses as more governments commit to carbon neutrality. This will include more renewable energy, green buildings and smart cities developed by 2040.

However, even with more green roles, the IT industry, particularly in the Asian Pacific area will see 13.7 million jobs lost to automation.

"To prepare for the changes brought on by automation, the five largest economies in APAC will have to radically rethink their workforce strategies," said Michael O'Grady, principal forecast analyst at Forrester. "While each economy faces its own challenges, common focus areas such as hiring more female workers can help offset working population declines. In addition, investing in STEM education, technology workforce training, and protecting the rights of freelance workers will become of utmost importance."

Automated jobs will impact each country differently, according to the report. For instance, Australia will see a similar situation to the US, with 11% of jobs lost to automation by 2040. China, in contrast, will see 7% of jobs lost to automation, though some 3.8 million additional new jobs will be created within the next two decades.

India, which has a relatively young workforce, according to the report, will add 160 million new workers over the next 20 years. However, 69% of these are under threat of automation, making job creation a main priority for the country.

Japan has the opposite problem as it has an ageing workforce, according to the report. Coupled with its low birth rate, the country's workforce is set to decline by almost one-third. Similarly, South Korea's ageing working population and its dependency on the construction and agriculture industries will be highly susceptible to automation. The report suggests that 23% of South Korean jobs will be automated over the next 20 years.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.