Students face career battle with robots for jobs

Students struggling to decide what career path to choose are now facing a battle with robots taking future jobs.

Researchers say that in just 20 years up to half of New Zealand's jobs could completely disappear, with machines doing the work instead.

Universities, polytechs and institutional providers are helping thousands of Canterbury students choose their future careers.

To make their decisions tougher, they're all entering a workforce where manual labour is quickly being replaced by robots.

And it's already happening. There's self-service checkouts at supermarkets, driverless busses will soon start transporting passengers at Christchurch airport and in 2007 robots performed the country's first surgery in the Bay of Plenty.

According to an Oxford University study, 47 percent of jobs could disappear within the next 25 years - including lawyers, accountants, doctors, teachers, bureaucrats and financial analysts.

Forbes lists farming as the industry most under threat.

"It's going to change the workforce massively, but also create some jobs that we didn't have to day so I think it's going to change but we don't know exactly what," says AUT researcher  Jarrod Haar.

Students are optimistic there will always be a demand for manual labour, but whether people like it or not the future for many could be robots.