Afraid of technology replacing your job? Don’t be!

Technology-replacing-your-job

Over the past few decades, technology has come a long way. The automations that have been created lately simplify what used to be considered difficult or tedious tasks. Mailing correspondence out to a client used to take 2-10 business days. Now, it takes 5 minutes via e-mail. Today’s document management software makes yesterday’s file clerk obsolete. The list goes on…

For executives, this is a huge plus. Technology often times can perform the same basic level tasks as humans but usually comes at a lower cost. This becomes a simple equation for shareholders, board members and C-level executives. When expenses reduce and productivity stays the same or even increases, the business wins. In this case, if automated software can replace human tasks, it will increase profits in the long run.

According to CNN, the US is at the highest risk of jobs becoming automated compared to any other company at 38%. This is striking fear in the hearts of many people today, although it shouldn’t. Instead of becoming fearful, people should prepare for the future technology brings. Below are some steps towards solidifying your job security and/or increasing your marketability to employers.

1.    Add these skillsets to your repertoire

There are plenty things technology can do well, but there are also certain things it can’t do well (yet). For instance, many software applications fall back on basic rules, equations, or formulas. Consider these examples, “If X happens, do Y”, “If this button is pushed, execute this command.” In these situations, basic rules are telling the software how to proceed. However, business isn’t that simple. Employers are going to continue looking for skillsets that basic technology cannot provide. Jon Andrews, head of technology and investments at PwC says, “Creative and critical thinking will be highly valued, as will emotional intelligence”. There are still several professions that utilize these three skillsets. Some examples would be in sales, advertising, account management, marketing, psychology, lawyers, and any other jobs that require constant human interaction.

2.    Master your craft

An undergraduate college degree does not have quite the same impact on a resume as it once did. Job competition has increased and it seems that every employer is looking for something special in a candidate before extending an offer. For this reason and many others, many students have continued to invest further into higher education pursuing their Master’s and Doctorate degrees. A recent report in McKinsey finds another benefit to higher education. They found that a position that requires applying expertise only has an 18% chance of being replaced with automated technology (also known as technical feasibility). In other words, any position that requires an expert opinion or expertise in carrying out a job responsibility (generally coming from a higher degree or years of experience) will be difficult to replace in the foreseeable future.

Some industries that have the lowest technical feasibility are healthcare, IT, education

3.    Expand your horizons

Michael Jones writes a compelling article shifting blame away from technology regarding US citizens’ job loss and redirects it to US citizens becoming too selective in their job search. ­He states that 44% of men surveyed in a New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll said that there were jobs in their area they thought they could obtain but weren’t willing to take them. Another 2014 survey mentions how 60% of unemployed people were ‘not at all willing’ to move to another state for work. What this article suggests is that people may be spending too much time waiting for that ‘dream job’ with ideal responsibilities, compensation, and location. However, those jobs are hard to come by while unemployed. Instead, open your horizons, take risks, and maximize on the opportunities that are around you.

As time continues to pass, technology will continue to become more advanced and offer businesses great value, but that does not have to mean human labor will diminish. All that will happen is that the job marketplace will continue to shift the same way as it does every few decades. The most important thing to keep in mind is understanding how to continue adapting with the changing demands of the job market.

As Warren Buffett once said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.”

Thanks for reading,

Shamit Patel, Sirma Enterprise Systems

Resources

Chui, M., Manyika, J., & Miremadi, M. (2016, July). Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (yet). Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/where-machines-could-replace-humans-and-where-they-cant-yet

Jones, M. (2016, February 17). Yes, the robots will steal our jobs. And that’s fine. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/02/17/yes-the-robots-will-steal-our-jobs-and-thats-fine/?utm_term=.fe568bec7bfb

Petroff, A. (2017, March 24). U.S. workers face higher risk of being replaced by robots. Here’s why. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/24/technology/robots-jobs-us-workers-uk/index.html

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