Science-fiction films and novels usually portray robots as one of two things: destroyers of the human race or friendly helpers. The common theme is that these stories happen in an alternate universe or a fantasy version of the future. Not here, and not now — until recently. The big difference is that the robots have come not to destroy our lives, but to disrupt our work.
Last year, the World Economic Forum released a report estimating that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in labor division between humans and machines.
For new grads entering the workforce, or young professionals looking to land their first jobs, this is news worth paying attention to. Entry-level positions that include routine tasks are precisely the ones disappearing.
What exactly is happening?
Thanks to advances in technology, some computers are able to conduct business processes without our margin of error. Natural Language Processing (NLP) allows chatbots to understand speech and provide technical support to customers in a variety of industries, including food and retail services. HR departments and finance companies use robotic process automation (RPA) to verify payroll systems, create email reports, and manage expenses, among other tasks typically handled by employees. And computer vision now makes it possible for machines to scan barcodes and track packages without the help of human hands.According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2020, 85 million jobs may be displaced by the shift in labor between humans and machines by 2025, while 97 million new roles may emerge.
Increasing demand Decreasing demand
1 Data analysts and scientists 1 Data entry clerks
2 AI and machine-learning specialists 2 Administrative and executive secretaries
3 Big data specialists 3 Accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll clerks
4 Digital-marketing and -strategy specialists 4 Accountants and auditors
5 Process automation specialists 5 Assembly and factory workers
6 Business development professionals 6 Business services and administration managers
7 Digital transformation specialists 7 Client information and customer service workers
8 Information security analysts 8 General and operations managers
9 Software and applications developers 9 Mechanics and machinery repairers
10 Internet of things (IoT) specialists 10 Material-recording and stockkeeping clerks
11 Project managers 11 Financial analysts
12 Business services and administration managers 12 Postal service clerks
13 Database and network professionals 13 Sales rep: wholesale and manufacturing, technical, and scientific products
14 Robotics engineers 14 Relationship managers
15 Strategic advisers 15 Bank tellers and related clerks
16 Management and organization analysts 16 Door-to-door sales, news, and street vendors
17 Fintech engineers 17 Electronics and telecoms installers and repairers
18 Mechanics and machinery repairers 18 Human resources specialists
19 Organizational development specialists 19 Training and development specialists
20 Risk management specialists 20 Construction laborersYou may be thinking that it’s finally happened: The robots have won.
But don’t panic just yet. The same report that predicts robots will soon steal our jobs also says that even more roles will open as a result of this shift — 97 million to be exact. These are the “jobs of the future,” and they are actually better opportunities, specifically for early-career professionals.
There are two reasons why:
The more computers are trained to conduct high-repetitive tasks that are often assigned to entry-level employees, the more roles focused on complex tasks with competitive salaries will arise in their place. This means that young professionals may have a wider range of interesting careers to choose from.
People just entering the workforce usually struggle to land roles with higher salaries because they have to compete with senior candidates. This competitive disadvantage disappears as new types of roles — roles that no one has done before — are created. Younger workers are less likely to be forced to compete with their seniors, and more likely to be pioneers
That said, if you are just entering the workforce, you may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of the new (and sometimes confusing) opportunities. To figure out which path you want to take first, you’ll need spend some time researching what areas feel right for you.
Ask yourself these three questions to identify the “jobs of tomorrow” worth applying to, and future-proof your career.