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Automation could displace up to 800 million workers

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With technology already looming as a threat to the jobs of many insurance industry workers, a new report by McKinsey Global Institute has warned they are being swept up in a revolutionary trend.

About 400-800 million workers may need to find new jobs by 2030 as robotics and other forms of automation take over, the report says.

Of those, 75-375 million may need to switch to other occupational categories and acquire new skills, the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Company says.

Jobs will be created in occupations that do not yet exist, but the transition to a tech-driven world will be challenging, especially in the US and other advanced economies.

“The changes in net occupational growth or decline imply a very large number of people may need to shift occupational categories and learn new skills in the years ahead,” McKinsey says.

“The shift could be on a scale not seen since the transition of the labour force out of agriculture in the early 1900s in the US and Europe, and more recently in China. But unlike those earlier transitions, in which young people left farms and moved to cities for industrial jobs, the challenge, especially in advanced economies, will be to retrain mid-career workers.” 

McKinsey says there are few precedents for societies successfully retraining such large numbers of people. 

Up to one-third of the workforce in the US and Germany and nearly half in Japan may need to learn new skills and move to new occupations by 2030, according to the report.