OTTAWA — Women are more likely than men to face a risk of their jobs being affected by automation, a Statistics Canada study says.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may accelerate the implementation of new technology, as firms might look to make the production and delivery of goods and the provision of services more resilient in the future,” said the report released Thursday.

It was based on a 2016 Longitudinal and International Study of Adults conducted before the virus struck earlier this year that forced business to shut down and increased unemployment.

“While skilled workers may become more productive by complementing the tasks performed by the new technology or by working directly with it, others may need to upgrade their skills,” it added.

Either way, jobs may be transformed as robots and computer algorithms take over routine, non-cognitive duties, while humans specialize further in non-routine, cognitive tasks.

The study, described as the first to examine in detail the risk of automation-related job transformation, found that changes may affect women and men differently, depending on the tasks they perform and how automatable they are.

Men and women were equally likely to face a high risk of automation-related job transformation, at 11 per cent. However, 44 per cent of women were likely to face a moderate to high risk, compared with nearly 35 per cent for men.

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