A Nation of Shopkeepers

A new paper released by Citi and the University of Oxford makes a startling prediction that 80% of retail jobs will disappear entirely and (similarly to mining and agriculture) will not be replaced. However, should we be surprised, or is this just part of the natural order of things? 150 years ago, 20% of the UK worked in agriculture and now the same figure is <1%, whereas manufacturing jobs fell from c. 40% to less than 10% over 50 years. Our building stock has adapted accordingly. Some other common jobs such as elevator operators, chimney sweeps, lamplighters and knocker-uppers have already disappeared. However, futurologist Thomas Frey predicts the birth of new roles such as augmented reality architects, locationists (who add the relevance of place to online communities), urban agriculturalists and… robot polishers (‘if we are going to have robots, they will inevitably need to be polished’).