Another week, another startling set of predictions for the retail industry: between 6 and 7.5 million jobs — roughly 47% of a 16 million job industry — could be lost to automation in the next 10 years.
According to Fortune, which cites a new 55-page report that was commissioned by Cornerstone Capital for the IRRC Institute, the most at-risk roles within the industry are cashiers and order clerks, which means the demographics for job-losses could be dramatically one-sided: “73% of retail cashiers are women — and that job is considered ‘one of the most easily automatable.'”
However, it’s not just cashier jobs that are at risk: “…technology also has the potential to automate part of the sales process and render a range of [other] jobs redundant,” the report states, citing past case studies that supported “evidence of a hollowing-out effect” automation had on workforces in the past.
Doom-and-gloom aside, Fortune offered a few of strategies for retailers moving forward, saying that “if more retailers ultimately focus on using technology to support highly skilled workers and enhance service, it may mean fewer layoffs and even higher pay for staffers.”