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VOL. 132 | NO. 212 | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Angela Copeland

Will My Job Be Replaced By a Robot?

Angela Copeland

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In the age of computers, the way we do business is changing at a record pace. Some change is good. But, inevitably, some is also quite painful. One concern many professionals have is whether or not their job may be replaced by a robot.

There is a reasonable chance your job may be impacted over the course of your career. A study released from the University of Oxford found that approximately 47 percent of all U.S. jobs are at risk of automation over the coming decades. So, which jobs are safe and what can we do to minimize any negative impact?

Let’s start with the jobs least likely to be impacted. They fall into three categories. Creative jobs such as artists, engineers and business strategists are least likely to be automated. These roles all require new, unique, creative thoughts each day.

Jobs that require a high level of human touch are also less likely to be impacted. They include social workers, nurses and clergy members. These roles all require an extensive amount of human interaction to be successful.

Highly unpredictable jobs are also less likely to be impacted. Included are roles such as emergency plumber. They occur at random times and require unique solutions.

So, which jobs will be impacted? Anything that is routine and has the ability to be replaced by a computer is at risk. For example, a tax accountant may potentially be replaced by a computer program.

The same holds true for many logistics, transportation and manufacturing jobs. Factory positions once held by people are being replaced by robots. Since 2013, Amazon has increased the use of robots almost sevenfold. They’ve gone from an average of 461 robots per facility in 2013 to an average of more than 3,200 per facility in 2017.

One area susceptible to robotics that’s the most surprising is sales. Sales has been a potentially lucrative job, tied to revenue and company goals for growth. But, predictions show that sales roles may be hit the hardest. In fact, it’s estimated that retail sales jobs may go away completely.

There are a few things you can do to prepare and to minimize the potential negative impact.

First, don’t assume you’ll work for one company forever. Working for more than one company diversifies your risk, and increases your professional network.

Second, work to develop more than one skill you could be paid for. This reduce the chances that you may end up with no options if your current job is outsourced to a robot.

Third, never stop learning. Change is constant, and to stay employed, you must also stay on top of trends.

Although the thought of robots replacing our jobs is a scary one, preparing will ensure you’ll be ready to grow and change along with the evolving job market.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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