We live in a world with incredible automated tools. We have cars that drive themselves, state of the art inscription technology, and smart bots that can offer you tech support.
While these technologies could have a positive impact on a business, they also have the power to take away millions of jobs. Research by the Mckinsey Global Institute suggested that nearly half the jobs currently held by humans could be done automatically.
This post will help you determine if your job could be completed by a computer, and explain the potential impact automation could have on low-wage earners.
The Uncertain Future of Work
What’s a Middle-Skill Job? In the 1970s, before automation began to radically alter our economy, digital learning potential, and everyday lives, only 20 percent of jobs in America required more than a high school diploma.
Since then, both the real and perceived value of a bachelor’s degree has increased, and it is considered a prerequisite in the white-collar workforce. But what about the rest of our workforce? As of 2012, about 69 million people in the U.S work in middle-skills jobs, representing roughly 48% of the labor force.
The general definition of a middle-skill or skilled job is a position that requires at least a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree. Some jobs are more at risk of automation than others. The jobs that are compatible with technology are one’s that require physical labor in a predictable, stable environment.
Can A Computer Do My Job?
Importance of Interpersonal Skills: Some jobs are more prone to automation than others. Graphic designers, performers, and writers, for example, are at a low risk of automation due to their highly creative nature.
Personal care and domestic service jobs are also likely to prevail in the age of automation. As humans, we want to connect on a primal level, and as of now, humans are not quite ready to keep their children under the care of a robot.
Nannies, teachers, and hospitality workers will most likely not lose their jobs to a computer, as these positions require interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. But how will our country’s blue-collar workers fare during this time of intense economic downturn?
Employee Retention and People At Risk
High-Risk Jobs: “If your job is boring and repetitive, you’re probably at great risk of automation,” states Mark Muro, a co-author of the new report by the Brookings Institution, titled, “Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines Affect People and Places.” The report suggests that office administration jobs, transportation workers, and those who operate machinery are considered “high-risk”.
If you fall into this category, you are not alone. Overall, the researchers found one-quarter of jobs in the U.S. are at “high-risk” of automation, as a whopping 70 percent or more of their tasks could be completed by automated devices.
Men, Minorities, and Low-Wage Workers: Research suggests that automation could be felt more acutely by men than women, as men are more likely to work in transportation and construction industries while women generally work in physically safer occupations, such as health care, education, and personal services. Minorities and people in agricultural communities are also more likely to feel the impact of automation.
In Kokomo, Indiana, a working-class community, 55 percent of the work could be automated, while in a cosmopolitan area like Washington, D.C, just 39 percent of the jobs can be automated. Black and Hispanic communities might also feel the ramifications of technology in the workplace, as 44 and 47 percent of the jobs held by Black and Hispanic workers are at risk of automation.
Middle-Skill Jobs and Automation
If you are worried about automation and your job, you are not alone. One-quarter of American jobs are at a high risk of automation. It is important to note, however, that even while some tasks can be automated, employment in those occupations may not decline as severely as we may think.
Automation could provide businesses with the opportunity to build employee engagement and upskill their current workers. What are some of your hopes and worries for the future of work? Have you experienced professional disruption or improvement as a result of automation? Share your story with us here at WeLearn’s learning development blog.