Upskilling the Channel Islands’ workforce for a digital world

The future is here today. Beyond the automation of routine and repetitive tasks is the revolution in analytical insight, customer engagement and product customisation ushered in by artificial intelligence (AI). The Channel Islands’ workforce needs to get up to speed.

PwC analysis reveals that around 30% of jobs in Jersey and Guernsey are at risk between now and 2035. If governments, businesses and educators don’t take decisive action now, the jobs that are furloughed or lost in the downturn may never come back. In turn, posts at risk of automation in 5-10 years’ time could disappear much sooner as restructuring and cost saving accelerate in the wake of the pandemic.

Yet this is also a once-in-a-generation opportunity. With the right skills, agility and readiness to embrace change, the Channel Islands can create thousands of new jobs to make up for the ones that will be lost. We can attract new businesses with new ways of working, improve the quality and value of the work we do, make it more fulfilling and ultimately bolster the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of our islands.

Our report looks at what kinds of work are under threat on the one side and how we could create new and higher value employment opportunities on the other.

Key findings

Jobs at risk of automation
of jobs are potentially at risk from automation in the Channel Islands between now and 2035.
Cost of upskilling now or later
6 times
the cost of doing nothing will ultimately be 6 times higher than the cost of upskilling now.
Most disrupted sector
jobs at risk, with financial services being the sector most disrupted.

Workforce transformation can no longer be put off

Automation means neither full employment nor wealth-generating jobs to support this can be taken for granted. COVID-19 will accelerate the adoption of technology, bringing the issue into sharper focus more quickly.

Our analysis shows 27% of jobs are potentially at risk from automation in Jersey between now and 2035
In Guernsey 32% of jobs are potentially at risk from automation between now and 2035
of employees would be willing to invest time to learn new skills in order to remain relevant
of female students in the UK would consider a career in technology compared o 61% of males, and only 3% say it is their first choice

The way forward

Workforce transformation can no longer be consigned to the ‘not now’ or ‘too difficult’ piles. Everyone needs upskilling and everyone can play a part in getting our workforce up to speed. The first step is recognising this as an immediate imperative.

At PwC, we’ve developed first-hand experience of the power of upskilling. Our global ‘New world. New skills.’ programme recognises the opportunities rather than just the threats that come from digital disruption. As we look to uplift digital capability to keep pace with client demands, optimise operations and continue to attract top talent, the programme focuses on building up the ‘digital fitness’ of our people.

Securing our future

If we don’t, the skills gaps could get worse, we risk being competitively side-lined and, perhaps most damaging, unemployment could become permanent and futures be dashed. Many of the jobs at risk will be lower skilled, lower paid roles, which in turn could deepen social divides. We believe everyone should be able to live, learn, work and participate in a digital world.

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Nick Vermeulen

Territory Senior Partner, PwC Channel Islands

+44 7781 111526


Leyla Yildirim

Chief Strategy Officer, PwC Channel Islands

+44 7781 161874


Callum McCutcheon

Senior Manager, Advisory, PwC Channel Islands


James Aldous-Granby

Advisory Manager, PwC Channel Islands

+44 7911 742052


Alison Cambray

Advisory Director, Sustainability, PwC Channel Islands

+44 7700 838337