With the news this week that Amazon have opened their first ‘staffless store’ in Seattle once again headlines of the ‘the robots are taking over’ variety are appearing in the media. Of course, even on our fair shores supermarkets have been using smart machines to replace cashiers for years now. Like it or not, automation is here to stay. And while these innovations may make our lives more convenient, the knock-on effect is that many people are finding themselves out of a job.
And it’s not just retail workers who are being replaced: factories are increasingly using robots to perform jobs more quickly and for less money than us humans, there are restaurants in China staffed by mechanical waiters and chefs, and in the US more than 80% of stock markets now ‘employ’ robot traders.
In fact current estimates show that a whopping 45-47% of tasks that humans perform in the workplace are able to be automated by adapting various technologies. So where does that leave you as an employee?
It’s not all doom and gloom, thankfully, as recent findings have shown that in the last 144 years more jobs were created than lost through technology. The upside to this being that many people have seen a decrease in tedious and repetitive work. But what happens to those people when their role is diminished, or even eradicated entirely?
How to safeguard your job from automation
So if technology is creating jobs what are they? Generally speaking they’re in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) fields. For example, more coders are required to keep up with advancements in Artificial Intelligence.
However many of us entered our working lives with little or no knowledge of a professional level of mathematics, science or engineering so the key here is making yourself more valuable. Indispensable even. If you’re in a position where your job could be automated during your working life and you have any kind of leaning towards the sciences, it is well worth thinking about making a career change, or at least learning some new skills, within the STEM area.
The future for millenials
But again, that disqualifies the large number of us who do not have a scientific bent. The good news is that soft skills will still play a part in the workplace - particularly as Millenials, who now form a large part of the workforce - are placing a higher prices on values such as company culture and training/learning.
After all, there are still things that us mere humans can beat the robots at - namely our interpersonal dealings and social skills. A robot will not, and never will be, a ‘people person’ so why not use your uniquely human assets to improve your written and verbal correspondence and communication?
Adding new skills, or improving on the ones you already possess, such as speech giving, making presentations, holding negotiations, people leadership or management, and even graphic design will help you build a strong defence against becoming obsolete in this increasingly automated world of ours.
Current estimates show that a whopping 45-47% of tasks that humans perform in the workplace are able to be automated by adapting various technologies. So where does that leave you as an employee?