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Automation

The Skills Needed to Survive the Robot Invasion of the Workplace

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Automation is coming to the workplace.

Millions of jobs will be destroyed, but many jobs will also be simultaneously created in the process as well.

For those in the workforce – or for those just joining it for the first time – the big question is: what skills are needed to navigate this monumental shift in the economy? How will humans create value in an increasingly automated world?

The Human Touch

Today’s infographic comes to us from Guthrie Jensen, and it summarizes the skills needed in 2020 and beyond to take advantage of the shifting landscape of work.

In short, for those looking to future proof their careers, building competencies in areas that machines will be unlikely to tackle effectively (i.e. complex problem solving, creativity) is likely the best recipe for success.

The Skills Needed to Survive the Robot Invasion of the Workplace

It can be daunting to think about automation’s role in the future – but if you’re a bookkeeper, legal secretary, insurance underwriter, credit analyst, or any other person in a job with high automation potential, it would be prudent to be thinking long and hard about what you can offer beyond your existing set of skills and competencies.

Here’s just a quick look at automation potential of select positions, according to a study by Oxford University:

PositionChance of Automation PositionChance of Automation
Telemarketer99%Physician0.4%
Tax Preparer99%Dentist0.4%
Insurance Underwriter99%Computer Systems Analyst0.7%
Bookkeeping Clerk98%Registered Nurse0.9%
Legal Secretary98%Teacher1.0%
Credit Analyst98%Microbiologist1.2%
Loan Officer98%Pharmacist1.2%
Real Estate Broker97%Sales Manager1.3%
Payroll Clerk97%Engineer1.4%
Accountant94%CEO1.5%
Budget Analyst94%PR Manager1.5%
Pharmacy Technician92%Architect1.8%

So how do we set ourselves up for future success in a world where even real estate brokers are likely to be automated?

It Starts With Soft Skills

There are many considerations for career success during a time of significant change.

However, there’s a good case that skills – especially soft skills – are the most important foundation to build upon. These include things like the ability to communicate and work well with others, solve problems, and think outside of the box, as well as other aspects of emotional intelligence.

Here are some skills that experts say should be prioritized:

1. Complex Problem Solving
It’s true that AI can solve problems that humans cannot – but it also goes the other way. When problem solving needs to span multiple industries or when problems are not fully defined, humans can work backwards to figure out a solution.

2. Critical Thinking
Machines are getting better at aspects of critical thinking, but humans are still able to to connect, interpret and imagine concepts in a world full of ambiguity and nuance. A lawyer can pinpoint the exact positioning to make a case for a client, or a marketer can figure out an overarching message that can resonate with consumers.

3. Creativity
Creativity requires a degree of intuitive randomness that can not yet be imitated by AI. Why did the architect design the building a certain way, and why did the musician improvise by playing a chord out of key? It’s hard to explain why to a computer – it just feels right.

Other important soft skills to consider?

People management, coordinating with others, decision-making, negotiation, and serving others will all be important going forward as well.

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Automation

The Outlook for Automation and Manufacturing Jobs in Seven Charts

How will technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence end up impacting jobs and the workforce? Here are seven charts that tell the story.

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The Outlook for Automation and Manufacturing in Seven Charts

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

Over the last decade, the prospect of mass automation has seemingly shifted from a vague possibility to an inescapable reality.

While it’s still incredibly difficult to estimate the ultimate impact of automation and AI on the economy, the picture is starting to become a bit clearer as projections begin to converge.

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it highlights seven different charts that show us how automation is shaping the world – and in particular, the future outlook for manufacturing jobs.

The Age of Automation

The precise details are up to debate, but here are a few key areas that many experts agree on with respect to the coming age of automation:

Half of manufacturing hours worked today are spent on manual jobs.

  • In an analysis of North American and European manufacturing jobs, it was found that roughly 48% of hours primarily relied on the use of manual or physical labor.
  • By the year 2030, it’s estimated that only 35% of time will be spent on such routine work.

Automation’s impact will be felt by the mid-2020s.

  • According to a recent report from PwC, the impact on OECD jobs will start to be felt in the mid-2020s.
  • By 2025, for example, it’s projected that 10-15% of jobs in three sectors (manufacturing, transportation and storage, and wholesales and retail trade) will have high potential for automation.
  • By 2035, the range of jobs with high automation potential will be closer to 35-50% for those sectors.

Industrial robot prices are decreasing.

  • Industrial robot sales are sky high, mainly the result of falling industry costs.
  • This trend is expected to continue, with the cost of robots falling by 65% between 2015 and 2025.
  • With the cost of labor generally rising, this makes it more difficult to keep low-skilled jobs.

Technology simultaneously creates jobs, but how many?

  • One bright spot is that automation and AI will also create jobs, likely in functions that are difficult for us to conceive of today.
  • Historically, technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed.
  • AI alone is expected to have an economic impact of $15.7 trillion by 2030.

Unfortunately, although experts agree that jobs will be created by these technologies, they disagree considerably on how many. This important discrepancy is likely the biggest x-factor in determining the ultimate impact that these technologies will have in the coming years, especially on the workforce.

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Automation

Will a Robot Take Your Job?

Is your job going the way of the robots? The Future of Jobs Report estimates the changes robotics will bring to the workplace over the next few years.

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Forecasting a Robot Driven Workplace

Forecasting a Robot-Driven Workplace

Will a Robot Take Your Job?

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Are you ready to hand your job over to R2D2?

A recent study by the Mckinsey Global Institute forecasts up to 800 million workers worldwide could lose their jobs to automation by 2030.

Industrial machine operators, administrators, and service workers will be the first to take a hit. Meanwhile, poorer countries with lower investment in tech are less likely to feel the pinch.

Jobs Out, Jobs In

Today’s chart uses data from the Future of Jobs Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum to take a peek at the changes technology will bring over the next four years.

It shows while humans are handing over a larger share of labor hours to their robot counterparts, the future isn’t all bleak. Although 75 million jobs could be displaced by the coming shift in labor, there will be 133 million new jobs created as well. While certain jobs are becoming redundant, human skills remain in demand in other areas.

Here is the full list of jobs on the chopping block in 2022, as well as the careers that will rise in importance:

Stable RolesNew RolesRedundant Roles
Managing Directors and Chief ExecutivesData Analysts and Scientists*Data Entry Clerks
General and Operations Managers*AI and Machine Learning SpecialistsAccounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
Software and Applications Developers and Analysts*General and Operations Managers*Administrative and Executive Secretaries
Data Analysts and Scientists*Big Data SpecialistsAssembly and Factory Workers
Sales and Marketing Professionals*Digital Transformation SpecialistsClient Information and Customer Service Workers*
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific ProductsSales and Marketing Professionals*Business Services and Administration Managers
Human Resources SpecialistsNew Technology SpecialistsAccountants and Auditors
Financial and Investment AdvisersOrganizational Development Specialists*Material-Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks
Database and Network ProfessionalsSoftware and Applications Developers and Analysts*General and Operations Managers*
Supply Chain and Logistics SpecialistsInformation Technology ServicesPostal Service Clerks
Risk Management SpecialistsProcess Automation SpecialistsFinancial Analysts
Information Security Analysts*Innovation ProfessionalsCashiers and Ticket Clerks
Management and Organization AnalystsInformation Security Analysts*Mechanics and Machinery Repairers
Electrotechnology EngineersEcommerce and Social Media SpecialistsTelemarketers
Organizational Development Specialists*User Experience and Human-MachineElectronics and Telecommunications Installers and Repairers
Chemical Processing Plant OperatorsInteraction DesignersBank Tellers and Related Clerks
University and Higher Education TeachersTraining and Development SpecialistsCar, Van and Motorcycle Drivers
Compliance OfficersRobotics Specialists and EngineersSales and Purchasing Agents and Brokers
Energy and Petroleum EngineersPeople and Culture SpecialistsDoor-To-Door Sales Workers, News and Street Vendors, and Related Workers
Robotics Specialists and EngineersClient Information and Customer Service Workers*Statistical, Finance and Insurance Clerks
Petroleum and Natural Gas Refining Plant OperatorsService and Solutions DesignersLawyers
Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists

Source: Future of Jobs Survey 2018, World Economic Forum. Roles marked with * appear across multiple columns. This reflects the fact that they might be seeing stable or declining demand across one industry, but be in demand in another.

New Jobs For A New World

While this coming wave of automation is bound impact the workplace, for now you might want to leave that torch and pitchfork at home – the robots aren’t out to steal your job just yet.

Oxford University researchers predict 47% of American jobs are likely to face automation over the next 20 years. However, the same study reveals 53% of jobs are unlikely to be affected at all. Robots are less likely to take over roles dependent on human interaction – like doctors and teachers. Workers in specialized roles, such as plumbing and care work, can breathe easy too.

Jobs in manufacturing, transport, and administration may decrease. But a potential rise in health, science, tech, and hospitality jobs is likely to offset this trend.

So the real question is, will robots replace your job, or make room for you to pursue a new career?

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