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Future-proof your job – understand the impact of automation & tech

There is much debate and discussion about jobs being taken over through automation, technology and outsourcing.

When new technologies were initially emerging, proactive, intuitive workers were starting their own businesses or broadened their skillset so, there was no job ‘loss’, per se.

But, now, with technology evolving and impacting on everything exponentially – to the point where Artificial Intelligence is being taught to think for themselves the labour market is struggling to keep up.

What jobs are getting replaced?

It’s low-skill, manual jobs, lacking specialisation that is the ‘low hanging fruit’, being targeted and replaced. Take retail businesses, for example. Consumers can, and are, buying more and more online, which has led to less and less brick-and-mortar stores, but causing thousands of layoffs.

Collectively, we’re staring an automation revolution in the face.

There is evidence that 47% of all jobs in the U.S. alone could be taken over by artificial intelligence and leaders don’t know how to deal with the consequences.  Middle class jobs are disappearing the quickest, as they require little or no formal education and instead, training on-the-job.

Unskilled workers are the most vulnerable.  Here are 10 disappearing, middle-class jobs:

  1. Bill and account collectors
  2. Bank tellers
  3. Call centre workers
  4. Procurement clerks
  5. Bookkeeping, accounting & auditing clerks
  6. Travel agents
  7. Printers and publishers
  8. Office machine operators
  9. Switchboard operators
  10. Postal workers

It’s natural for jobs and industries to come and go with time – and economic cycles.  The upheaval across the global automotive industry’s blue-collar workforce is a devastating example.

Drivers, farmers, broadcasters, jewellers, and fishermen are also in this group of vulnerable jobs.

With the International Labour Organisation forecasting an increase in global unemployment of 11 million by 2020, across 15 leading economies.  The source and number of new jobs is worrying, with limited predictability across occupations and industries.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) chose “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”: Robotics, Nanotechnology, 3D printing and Biotechnology — as the official theme of last year’s DAVOS conference.

The new tech industries described in that title alone, would have big sectors of workers concerned. Women, in particular, are in the cross hairs, as a majority tend to work in earmarked sales, office and administration roles.

Concerns about automation and globalisation are particularly heightened as they reflect deep economic shifts, rather than temporary, cyclical swings.

A trend that’s not going away.  It’s far more likely that jobs that get automated will never come back, and workers (especially women) who held those jobs will find their skillsets are obsolete.

This is already more than just an economic problem.  Potentially half of America is in the process of losing their jobs – which will likely spread across the Western world. The psychological impact would be devastating.

So, what’s the answer to all of this?

The working world needs ‘generalist entrepreneurs’

Artificial Intelligence (AI) need not be a threat.  The U.S. job market is expected to grow by approximately 7% over the next 10 years.  However, the consequent new jobs won’t be spread evenly across occupations and industries.

Experts believe the best way to prepare for the inevitable wave of automation and to make yourself as indispensable as possible.

The ‘safest’ job for the future will be a generalist entrepreneur.  Someone who “creates value by moving resources out of less productive areas and into more productive ones.”

Generalist entrepreneurs will rule the future because of their innate ability to adapt to new workplaces, job requirements, and cultural shifts.  Knowing ‘a little about a lot’ and being able to look at the big picture will become huge advantages.

Want to future-proof your career?

You need to gather the skills, flexibility, charisma, temperament, capital, and relationships to survive the tsunami of automation (and stay in front of the wave) and seize whatever opportunities present themselves in this rapidly approaching, new world.

If you would like to more about safeguarding your future career, please contact Jess Perry at jessica@careerblueprint.com.au.

February 2017


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