How can you prevent this from happening? Anticipate and act now. Reexamine the career plan you are designing with your child. As you help her determine a viable career path, factor in the acceleration of robotics.
Technology is devaluing education
Automation and big data will affect jobs across industries for a wide range of skill levels. This threat includes knowledge-based occupations that once seemed secure. Robots now perform roles previously held by paralegals, physicians, journalists, teaching assistants and others.
Knowledge-based jobs can be automated using only software and may be more vulnerable than lower-skill jobs that involve physical manipulation. StatsMonkey is a software program that transforms objective data about a game and composes stories that incorporate the same essential attributes included by a sports journalist; thus replacing the skilled, college-educated professional. Quill is another intelligence engine used by top media outlets, including Forbes, to automate production of articles.1
Jobs in human resources are being replaced with software such as WorkFusion that manages the recruitment and selection process of qualified candidates. Once people are hired, the software’s learning algorithms further automate the process to eventually eliminate the need for humans.
Corporations are replacing U.S. workers
Predictive algorithms now replicate human qualities such as experience and judgment to conduct work at a fraction of the cost of employing humans. One corporation used WorkFusion to update 40,000 records. A per record cost of nearly $4 using in-house staff dropped to 20 cents.1
Large numbers of well-paying information technology jobs became available during the 1990s. Today companies have eliminated many of them and reduced expenses by outsourcing IT functions to centralized cloud-computing hubs. Technology advances enable offshoring efforts to electronically move many of America’s knowledge-based jobs to lower-wage countries. Opportunities for highly educated, skilled professionals such as programmers, radiologists, and lawyers have considerably diminished in the U.S.1
Anticipate and plan for looming challenges
The evolution of automation and robotics may be frightening, but don’t approach goal setting with your child in a negative mood. As discussed in my earlier article on setting and accomplishing goals, you and your student will be more successful by positively framing goals. Encourage your child to explore questions such as:
- Is this career vulnerable to automation? If so, at what level on a scale of 1 to 10?
- Is this career susceptible to offshoring? If so, at what level on a scale of 1 to 10?
- What other career options offer more sustainable opportunities?
- Which options align with my passions and interests?
Focus on potential new career avenues
Research career paths using resources such as the Bureau Labor of Statistics (BLS) website at www.bls.gov. The Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information on highest paying and fastest growing occupations and those offering the most new jobs. According to the BLS, the most new jobs projected for 2014-24 will be in registered nursing with an anticipated 439,300 new jobs.2 Such estimates are useful, although they may overstate as they do not reflect the impact of automation. Look for “defensive” industries that are apt to grow despite these trends, or be among the last to be profoundly affected, including public safety, health care, and education.
Technology will reduce the need for skilled, college-educated workers in certain fields, and it will create new occupations and industries. Help your child prepare for and pursue alternatives in an evolving job market, with her eyes open and anticipating change.
About the Author
Mark Blair, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®
Blair’s expertise has been featured in nationally recognized publications such as U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. He works with clients to create enduring relationships whether those consist of monthly conversations and annual weekend retreats or individual consultations on particular topics over time.
Blair Wealth Management, Inc. is a fee-only firm that adheres to strict fiduciary standards. Learn more at https://blairwealthmanagement.com or call 610-908-6271.
- Ford, M. (2015). Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. New York, NY: Basic Books.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. United States Department of Labor. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/