Machine learning and automation is the wave of the future. As technology advances, tasks that were once the sole domain of humans will be handed off to robots and computers.
Figures like these have many current employees wondering if their jobs are safe, and plenty of new entrants to the job market are wondering what careers to focus on so that they can maintain some stability.
Thankfully, not every job is on the proverbial automation chopping block. This article will help you identify the jobs that are least likely to be overrun by automation and robotics so that you can better focus your future prospects.
The automation resistant job landscape
A cursory examination of the numbers surrounding automation and robotics might lead you to believe human workers are doomed. A more balanced view of the matter, however, reveals that the technological revolution will create far more jobs than it destroys, particularly in industries where artificial intelligence and computing play a large role.
What’s more, there’s a good portion of jobs that robotics and automation will hardly touch at all. These are a few of the jobs that will be safe and even enhanced by automation’s touch. Job’s like:
This field is uniquely human. It is in the name after all! While workflow and process automation will improve the day-to-day workings of HR professionals, it won’t take over every aspect.
In general, HR positions require complex social interactions and a deep understanding of how to communicate with other people. Beyond that, though, intercultural sensitivity and an ability to “read” individuals are necessary to effectively carry out the role, and these are skills that computers aren’t quite ready to mimic.
Those looking to enter the field should start considering training for HR roles that will prepare them for the many career paths this skill set can take them, such as recruiter or training manager.
Technology has already impacted teaching jobs. Telepresence (and the rise of online classes) is just one area where some forms of education have shifted, and there are likely more on the horizon. Like human resources, though, teaching is a highly interpersonal career field for which no amount of automation will be able to substitute anytime soon.
Teachers need to be able to form strong bonds with their students to remain effective. They also need to be able to answer complex questions and grade written assignments — two more areas where computers can’t quite compete with the human mind.
Writers and Editors
If you’ve ever read a computer-generated story before, you may have noticed it didn’t quite make sense. That’s because computers, while adept at analytics, can’t tackle imaginative pursuits with the same potency as the human mind.
Though some light proofreading and repetitive social media posts are prime candidates for automation, creative pursuits such as blogs, books, movie scripts and the like are safe for the foreseeable future.
Counselors, Therapists, and Social Workers
Software has advanced to remarkable degrees in recent years. It will likely advance even more in the years to come.
Regardless, it will be decades before computers can mimic the warm presence and empathetic, interpersonal communication styles that are the hallmark of professions like counselors and social workers — if at all.
These fields, where relating to uniquely human struggles is a must, are safe from the encroachment of automation.
When it comes to healthcare positions, automation may come to dominate some jobs, but won’t be able to take them all.
Some positions, like medical secretaries and account collectors, stand a good chance of being automated because of the repetitive nature of the work.
The “hands-on” medical professions, on the other hand — like doctors, nurses, and physical therapists — don’t contain many subtasks that automation can replace.
Supervisors, Managers, and Executives
Someone has to be in charge and direct the show in every industry. Few, if any of those industries will have those calling the shots replaced by machines.
From front-line supervisors on a job site to executives leading global teams — there’s a broad collection of leadership responsibilities that go into these roles, and computers aren’t quite ready to handle that.
Engineers are highly trained, having to possess a broad range of knowledge encompassing science, mathematics, and the like. This alone makes it a challenge for computers to take on engineering professions, but the hurdles go even further.
The additional skills required for engineering fields, such as creative problem-solving and critical thinking, make this career path highly resistant to automation.
The legal system is quite complex. As society progresses, humans continue to find tricky ways to circumvent the law, society writes more laws in response, and the jumble of rules and regulations continues to grow.
Understanding this tangled web — the various interpretations of laws and how they intertwine — is well beyond a computer’s purview. Additionally, arguing a case in court and working closely with people are both skills that automation isn’t equipped to handle.
Robotics and automation are eating into several careers — like truck driving and manufacturing. Potent as it is, though, there are a good many fields where technology cannot completely take over, and the human element cannot be replaced.
The jobs most resistant to technological encroachment are those that require creativity, empathy, and human understanding. If you want to secure your prospects well into the future, you should look to these career fields as you embark on your next job search.
About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who has a particular interest in social justice, politics, education, healthcare, technology, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @ HamiltonJori.
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