Grey stone castle of Cahir in Tipperary reflected in water under bridge in foreground.
Cahir, Co Tipperary. Image: © captblack76/

Which Irish towns are most at risk of job automation?

22 Feb 2019

Two out of every five jobs across Ireland are at high risk of automation, according to a new UCC study.

Jobs in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, are the most at risk of automation, according to new findings from University College Cork (UCC).

The report examines the impact of automation across urban areas in Ireland and identifies the towns where jobs are at a high risk of automation, as well as those at the lowest risk.

After Edgeworthstown, the study found Ballyjamesduff in Cavan and Cahir in Tipperary to be the next on the list of high-risk towns.

On the other side, Barna in Galway, Skerries in Dublin and Ballina in Tipperary were all in the top 10 least at risk of automation.

According to the findings, jobs identified as being most at risk included office, secretarial and administrative support positions, process plant operators, jobs in agriculture, and customer service roles.

Meanwhile, the jobs least at risk to being automated are in the areas of education, the arts, media and culture, as well as positions in health and social care, and research and development.

Two in five jobs at high risk of automation

Economist and co-author of the report, Dr Frank Crowley, said the pattern of job risk across Ireland demands policy that is localised.

“Our study finds that the likelihood of jobs in towns being automated is explained by population differences, by education levels, age demographics, the proportion of creative occupations in the town, town size and differences in the types of industries across towns,” he said. “The pattern of job risk from automation across Ireland demands policy that is not one-size-fits-all.”

The report also found wide differences between the average numbers of jobs at a high risk across towns, from a low of 26pc to a high of 58pc. Many high-risk towns have low-risk neighbours and vice versa.

“The dominance of the ‘city’ is a trend taking place right across the world. As cities become the dominant centre for economic activity, rural areas are being left behind,” said Crowley.

“The impact of automation in Ireland is going to be felt far and wide, with two out of every five jobs at high risk of automation.”

Updated, 8.59am, 22 February 2019: This article was updated to clarify that Ballina in Tipperary is one of the towns least at risk of automation, not Ballina in Mayo.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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