I recently read an interesting article by McKinsey & Co. which suggested that 45% of current tasks could be automated by using technology that currently exists. It lead me to think about the future of work, how different it would look and, more importantly, could a robot really take my job?
Well yes. Yes they will. But it’s not going to happen in the future, it’s happening now, and has been happening since the industrial revolution. 14-year-old Jay working in his local restaurant as a pot washer, replaced by a dishwasher. The grumpy border security guards, replaced by awkward passport facial-recognition machines. The spotty teenager working in your local supermarket, replaced by a self-service machine.
It’s been happening for years, but not just to low skilled jobs. Vikram Pandit, previously of Citigroup, suggested 30% of banking jobs could be lost to automation within the next 5 years. Furthermore, Wall Steet jobs, including some exceeding $200,000 in annual salary, are at risk of some level of automation, a new report from McKinsey & Co. found.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; just like with the dawn of the industrial era, where jobs were lost but new jobs were created with the advancement of technology. Indeed, the world economic forum estimates that 33% of jobs needed in 2020 don’t even exist yet. Clearly, even if some jobs are being lost, A LOT of new ones are going to be created.
33% of jobs needed in 2020 don’t even exist yet…
So, as companies focus on hiring less people, and more on growing through technology to mirror the likes of Instagram (Sold for: $1 billion, Employed: 13 people = Value $77 million per employee) and YouTube (Sold for: £1.6 billion, Employed 65 people = $25 million per employee) – compared to the golden years of Kodak ($38 billion, Employed 144,000 people = $270,000 per employee), what we’re really seeing is old-school jobs being replaced by the new-age skillsets that have become key to utilising the technologies that businesses are implementing.
So, how do you make sure recruiters are still pestering you with jobs in the future? Simple, stay relevant. Make sure your current job is adding value to your future self. Understand what the future trends will be and make sure you are investing energy into mastering them (although I do appreciate that’s easier said than done).
Of course, this is purely my opinion, which isn’t always correct, especially when trying to predict the future! What are your views? Do you think the robot’s will come for us all in a Terminator-style armageddon, or are we all going to be in the same place in another 10 years? At least your new robot colleague will be easy to buy for in your 2020 Secret Santa