108,000 retail jobs have been lost to robots, biggest victims are women
- Mirror 12th Sep 2019 10:10:19 GMT +0300
Women in retail have been the biggest sufferers of the rise of automation in the workplace, figures show.
That's according to a new report by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) which said more than 100,000 high street retail jobs have been lost to automation and e-commerce since 2011.
It said retailers have culled a wave of traditionally female-led customer service roles in favour of newer warehouse positions, which have mostly gone to men.
Overall, women made up around 70 per cent of the job losses - or 75,000 of the 108,000 total.
However, the report said retail's future was "not all gloomy" and the high street could be saved if retailers moved towards the responsible adoption of new technologies, retraining its workforce with new skills and moving towards "experiential" shopping such as in-store "influencers".
Fabian Wallace-Stephens, the researcher at the RSA's Future Work Centre, said: "Our research shows that the economic pain that comes with the decline of the high street is not being felt evenly.
"Women are being hit particularly hard, with jobs growth being contained to roles usually filled by men such as delivery drivers.
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"That said, we are optimistic that the high street's decline can be reversed. If retailers collaborate more with each other, offer exciting in-store experiences and make customer service roles higher-skilled - with staff becoming more like in-store 'influencers' - then we still see a vibrant future for the British High street."
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