Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
STUDENT LIFE / MAY. 12, 2015
version 3, draft 3

Will the Right Education Protect Your Job From Automation?

The robotics industry has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. Now though it seems that this automation is something that won’t just be impacting upon manual work, but also the skilled professions in the coming years.

See Also: 6 Manual Jobs That Robots Can Never Replace

A recent report from Oxford University reveals that as many as 50 percent of all professions may be at risk from automation in some way. Ironically, the report itself used machine learning to help arrive at its conclusion, so it’s quite possible that even such tasks as producing reports may be in the firing line before too long.

Jobs at Risk of Automation

Among the professions most at risk was telemarketing, which may not elicit a great deal of sympathy. However, it’s worth considering that automated telemarketers will be cheaper, thus making it easier for organisations to bother you over dinner.

Another (probably popular) job in the firing line is that of a tax agent, with the report suggesting that we will increasingly have our tax filed automatically. Professions such as cooking were also regarded as high risk, with robots increasingly adept not just at constructing recipes, but cooking them too.

Of course, you might argue that ’twas ever thus, and we’ve always had new technologies coming along that invalidate various careers.  Nevertheless, you may be wondering how you can protect your own career from automation.

Protecting Yourself From Automation

One strategy, advocated by a recent report by PwC was to invest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. Indeed, jobs in these fields were some of the safest identified by the Oxford report, but they weren’t the safest jobs. It’s worth considering that some of the tasks machines are increasingly adept at are those traditionally done by STEM based individuals.

Some of the safest jobs appear to be those relying on very human, ’softer’ skills. Social worker, for instance, was regarded as an inherently safe profession, as the kind of people skills the role requires are something that robots have traditionally struggled with.

Likewise, doctors are still regarded as a relatively safe profession, despite the incredible rise of tools such as IBM’s Watson, which promises to make knowledge much more accessible. A large part of the high regard for human doctors is the personal touch they can deliver.

STEM or Humanities?

So should you go down the STEM route or the humanities route to future proof your career? There are strong arguments for both.  It’s hard to dispute that STEM careers are some of the safest, but even within STEM there is a need for humanities, whether it’s designing interfaces or putting a human touch to STEM issues.

The Oxford report suggests that there is just a 4 percent chance that fine arts will be automated in the coming few decades, with the chances dropping to just 2 percent for composers.

There seem to be opportunities available in both areas therefore, but with automation set to continue apace, it is undoubtedly well worth your time considering how the trend may influence your own profession.

See Also: 47% of all Jobs Will be Automated By 2034

Do you think that your job could be automated? Your thoughts and comments below please..

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