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Carney: Up to 15m British jobs could eventually be automated

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Industries must commit to the continual reskilling of workers to offset the risks that globalisation and technological advances pose to job safety, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned.

In a speech at Liverpool John Moores University, Carney said some 15 million current jobs held by British workers could be lost to new technology over time.

On global trade, Carney said while countries were often made better off, the benefits were generally spread unequally across individuals and time; with some workers losing jobs and suffering from lower wages.

In contrast to Chinese workers, of which 70% think trade creates jobs and increases wages, Carney explained that US workers felt the opposite, with sentiment among UK workers vague.

Carney added: “People’s attitudes towards trade shocks are being hardened by the effects of accelerating technological innovation.

“The fundamental challenge is that, alongside its great benefits, every technological revolution mercilessly destroys jobs and livelihoods – and therefore identities – well before the new ones emerge.

“The combination of open markets and technology means that returns in a globalised world amplifies the rewards of the superstar and the lucky. Now may be the time of the famous or fortunate, but what of the frustrated and frightened?” he said.

To address these risks, Carney suggested the world economy needs a globalisation that works for all, through the redistribution of gains from trade and technology and re-skilling of all individuals.

Online marketplaces such as Alibaba and etsy could help small-scale producers and service providers benefit directly from global markets, he added.

Carney said: “Global free trade for SMEs, connected via such platforms, holds out the prospect of a more inclusive form of global commerce with the individual at its centre.”

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