Research Report: The Automation Potential of B.C.’s Labour Market

How will digitalization impact the British Columbia labour market?

The Business Council of B.C. (BCBC) recently released a glimpse into the not so distant future in the form of a research paper, “The Automation Potential of B.C.’s Labour Market,” authored by David Williams, vice-president of policy for BCBC.  Available for download here, the paper focuses on the changing role of labour and the fact that about 42 per cent of B.C. jobs are in markets with high potential for automation over the next 10 to 20 years.

The waters of technological change are rising for many workers in the global labour market. Technologies can perform an ever-expanding range of tasks in the production of many goods and services. There will be economic opportunities and adjustment costs as labour’s role in the production process and the overall economy changes.

As per the paper’s highlights: “There is much uncertainty about the pace of digital innovation, adoption and transformation across the economy. This study is a technically-focused risk assessment only. The actual pace and extent of automation will depend on non-technical factors as well, including economic, social and regulatory developments. Furthermore, productivity gains and the creation of new roles for labour could more than offset automation’s effects on overall labour demand.”

Overall, B.C. has a slightly larger share of jobs with a high potential for automation compared to Canada as a whole and this could result in great adjustment costs, making BCBC’s study both a timely and worthy read.

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