MORE than three-quarters of people in Scotland want quotas to protect human jobs in the face of increasing automation, a new study has suggested.

Opinium Research, surveying for PwC, asked 338 people in Scotland and found 45% were concerned about the risk technology poses to their jobs while 77% backed government quotas for human workers.

51% believe the job they are doing now will not be the same in a decade.

47% are prepared to take a lower salary if increased technology pushes them out of their current role, while 55% would accept a lower position at another company.

51% are prepared to study full-time, a figure which rises to 64% for those willing to engage in distance learning. Questioned about who is responsible for retraining workers affected by the growing use of robotics in the workplace, the most common response in Scotland, at 28%, was the UK Government.

22% said the Scottish Government and local authorities were responsible, while the same proportion said it should be dealt with by businesses. Just 4% said it was up to workers.

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The most popular option for government intervention, supported by 86%, was providing free or subsidised training courses for anyone who loses their job through automation. A majority, 84%, said it should be mandatory for businesses to reskill workers who lose their jobs.

Stewart Wilson of PwC in Scotland, said: “It is reassuring to see that so many people working in Scotland today both recognise the role that automation is going to play, and are keen to develop new skills in response.

“However, what our research tells us is that UK and Scottish Governments, along with local authorities and businesses need to work together to invest in upskilling initiatives which will benefit the whole workforce to create opportunities for everyone – and that work must begin now.

“Our research has previously projected that more jobs will be created as a consequence of automation in Scotland than displaced, leading to a net benefit.

“But we must recognise that while automation can improve the lives of skilled workers it may make life more difficult for those less skilled.”