Automation and Globalisation. Good news, depending on where you live.


The Centre for Cities aims to understand how and why economic growth and change takes place in Britain’s cities, and to produce research that helps cities improve their performance.

The focus for their latest Cities Outlook 2018 (their annual health-check on UK city economies) is on automation and globalisation. In short, their findings show that overall, automation and globalisation is a good thing. It’s going to boost jobs in the coming decades, but it will also deepen the North / South divide with a quarter of jobs at risk being located outside the South.

As a nation, the impact on automation and globalisation will see 1 in 5 existing jobs in British cities displaced by 2030. That’s some 3.6m jobs in total – with retail, customer service and warehouse jobs among those most at threat.

Around 18% of jobs are under threat in Southern cities, compared to 23% in cities elsewhere in the country.¹

The top 10 British cities most at risk of job losses resulting from automation and globalisation are as follows:

At the other end of the spectrum, the Top 10 British cities least at risk of job losses resulting from automation and globalisation are:


It goes on to report that whilst all cities will benefit from jobs growth brought about by these changes – the Northern and Midlands cities will largely be in low skilled occupations, leaving Southern cities to attract high skilled roles.

It is also expected that 1.4m existing jobs in British cities – nearly one in ten – are in occupations that are predicted to grow by 2030. Between 5-10% of jobs in all British cities today are in occupations predicted to grow in future (exceptions are Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton, where the share of jobs expected to increase is higher). They also predict an emergence of new industries that will bring new jobs which do not currently exist (as seen in IT over the last century).

Again, the report highlights that successful cities in the South are better placed to secure more high-skilled, high-paying jobs in future. The cities least likely to lose jobs are those who already house high-skilled private sector occupations which are expected to grow by 2030. The large numbers of high skilled private sector jobs in these cities (such as Cambridge, Oxford and Aldershot) will also help them to attract more jobs in new industries and occupations which emerge in the future.

Whereas only 1 in 10 jobs predicted to grow by 2030 in cities such as Mansfield, Blackburn and Sunderland are in high skilled private sector occupations, while 3 out of 10 are in low skilled private sector occupations. Something that can only contribute to the North / South economic divide.

Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said “Automation and globalisation will bring huge opportunities to increase prosperity and jobs, but there is also a real risk that many people and places will lose out. The time to act is now – national and local leaders need to ensure that people in cities across the North and Midlands can share in the benefits these changes could offer.

“That means reforming the education system to give young people the cognitive and interpersonal skills they need to thrive in the future, and improving school standards, especially in places where jobs are most at risk. We also need greater investment in lifelong learning and technical education to help adults adapt to the changing labour market, and better retraining for people who lose their jobs because of these changes.

“In an evermore divided country, it’s increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach from central government is inadequate to address the myriad issues that different places face. The challenges and opportunities ahead for Blackburn are very different to those for Brighton. The Government needs to give cities more powers and resources to tackle the issues that automation and globalisation will present, and to make the most of the benefits they will bring.”



¹ ‘Southern’ cities are defined as London and cities in the London, South East, South West and East of England regions. These include Aldershot, Basildon, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Chatham, Crawley, Exeter, Gloucester, Ipswich, London, Luton, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough, Southampton, Southend, Swindon, Worthing.

‘Northern’ cities are as follows: Barnsley, Birkenhead, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bradford, Burnley, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Preston, Sheffield, Sunderland, Wakefield, Warrington, Wigan, York.

‘Midlands’ cities include: Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Leicester, Mansfield, Northampton, Nottingham, Stoke, Telford.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Share this article

Any questions? Any comments?

Your instant reactions to this article can be posted here. Use your own name or a nom de plume.

Be the first to make a comment...

Please log in to make a comment

Already registered?

Haven't registered?

Register for FREE - it only takes a couple of minutes

Not registered? Click here.

Automation and Globalisation. Good news, depending on where you live.
  • Latest jobs
  • Student Recruitment Marketing Senior Manager Client Job Location: Canary Wharf, London Salary: Competitive salary & extensive benefits, plus flexible working options Read more >> KPMG