Active jobs for transport ticket agents and clerks in the UK have declined by 27.5% in the past six months, according to research by GlobalData.

This brings the number of jobs in the sector down to the lows in 2022 – when the Covid-19 pandemic easing of restrictions saw travel and transport industries scramble to rehire employees, following mass layoffs.

The downward jobs trend comes amid top-down cost-cutting initiatives to replace workers with automated machines.

A particularly contentious development has been the recent ticket office closure debacle across the UK passenger rail sector. Plans to replace almost 1,000 ticket offices with automated machines have been followed by widespread outcry from the public, disability groups, and rail and transport unions. The consultation period has been extended due to the volume of correspondence received.

Airport automation and post-Covid staffing

Many of the services in international airports are already automated, from border control gates to aerobridges, a move which has generally seen passenger satisfaction soar.

Automation is not a recipe for guaranteed success, however, seen in the major delays at London airports in May after a UK-wide e-Gate system malfunction.

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In conjunction with aviation trade bodies, analysis by Oxford Economics shows that 2.3 million jobs have been lost across airlines, airports and civil aerospace groups since the Covid-19 outbreak — that's 21%of pre-pandemic levels, according to the Financial Times.

Low wages and lengthy training – not to mention a lingering resentment from the mass lay-offs carried out by large transport companies – have seen employees leave for different industries. Without a concerted effort by policymakers and transport employers, this downward trend is expected to continue.

Our signals coverage is powered by GlobalData’s Disruptor data, which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors. These signals help us to uncover key innovation areas in the sector and the themes that drive them. They tell us about the topics on the minds of business leaders and investors, and indicate where leading companies are focusing their investment, deal-making and R&D efforts.