Increasing automation will change the composition of the US workforce. 49% of workers are in professions that face a high risk (greater than 70% probability) of computerization, defined as automation by computer-controlled equipment. 32% of US workers are in professions that face a very high risk (greater than 90%).

Women face greater risk of job loss due to computerization, and “lower risk” jobs typically dominated by women pay less than low risk male-dominated jobs. Our analysis revealed that women hold nearly 60% of jobs facing very high risk of computerization. Women also hold a greater percentage of jobs in very low risk professions (less than 10% chance of automation); the median annual income of those jobs is $27,000 less than that for low risk men’s jobs.

Developing “non-computerizable” skills minimizes exposure to automation risk over the long term and enables migration towards emerging sectors. Programs aiming to develop social and critical thinking skills offer a way for women to transition to lower risk jobs and access low risk male-dominated STEM fields.

There are a range of options available to investors who wish to influence this trend. Education technology (EdTech) funds and gender lens investing offer opportunities to investors concerned with the potential impact of automation on women. We offer a brief overview of the relevant investment approaches.

Figure 1: Computerization risk categories by gender in the US


Source:  Frey and Osborne, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?” Oxford University, September 2013; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Cornerstone Capital Group.

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Fiona Ewing recently completed an internship in the Research department of Cornerstone Capital Group, where she produced this original report while contributing to another major project. She is a rising senior at Dartmouth College, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Chinese. Previously she interned with Clarion Partners, focusing on strategy and research.

Sebastian Vanderzeil is a Global Thematic Analyst with Cornerstone Capital Group. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Previously, Sebastian was an economic consultant with global technical services group AECOM, where he advised on the development and finance of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked with the Queensland State Government on water and climate issues prior to establishing Australia’s first government-owned carbon broker, Ecofund Queensland.