A new report from PwC warns that up to 27,000 jobs - mainly in the finance sector - could be at risk from automation over the next 15 years.
The report calls for governments, business and educators work together to champion digital technology, and so increase the skills available in the workforce.
It says the underlying threat comes from technology which is able to perform more and more complex tasks and even make decisions that businesses currently pay people to do.
Nick Vermeulen, the Partner leading on Innovation and Technology at PwC Channel Islands, commented: "If governments, businesses and educators don’t take decisive action now, the jobs that are furloughed or lost in the downturn may never return. Posts at risk in five or ten years’ time could disappear much sooner, as restructuring and cost saving accelerate in the wake of the pandemic.
"But 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."
The report, which has been shared with representatives of the governments of both Islands, delivers a series of key findings:
Mr Vermeulen added: "We set out in the report the key steps required of governments, business and education to respond and position us well for the future of work. Positioning the Channel Islands as a digital talent hub could be a game changer and a great way to build back better post-pandemic, investing in our workforce for the future.
"Furthermore, the effectiveness of remote working during the current crisis has illustrated how in future, many Islanders may find they can live in the Channel Islands and actually work for a business elsewhere in the world, especially so if they are equipped with cutting edge digital skills."
Pictured: Nick Vermeulen, Partner leading on Innovation and Technology at PwC Channel Islands.
The report recommends the creation of a taskforce to consider a mass digital upskilling plan for Guernsey and Jersey. The cost of upskilling is estimated to be six times lower than the ultimate economic cost of redundancies, periods out of work, needing to retrain whilst out of work before re-entering the workforce.
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