In a world of increasing technological advancement, many jobs are under threat. According to a study by Deloitte, 35% of jobs are at risk of automation over the next 10 to 20 years. This is puts all kinds of work in danger; of course, the more obvious sectors of manufacturing and administration have been affected, but automation could put a whole range of professions in peril, including teaching and therapy.
All of this is quite scary for me and other members of Generation Z. Advances in areas like artificial intelligence, inexpensive computer power, and language processing, mean that people’s jobs can now be done by computers, resulting in many jobs becoming scarcer. From the perspective of young people trying to enter the workforce, prospects look quite bleak.
So how can members of Generation Z find employment in an age of automated workers? There seem to be three main ways. You could move up the careers ladder to an executive role, monitoring the machines and making decisions about what to computerise. You could change career paths, focusing on areas that machines are not good at. Or, you could work on developing the technology that will automate future careers.
The most important part of avoiding being replaced by machines seems to be learning useful and transferrable skills. Unlike computers, humans have vital talents such as insight, compassion and creativity. Nurturing these abilities will give Generation Z a competitive upper-hand over machines. Growing a transferrable skillset is also important, since it provides people with job flexibility.
While decreasing employment in less skilled areas, automation has created more jobs elsewhere. 800,000 jobs have been lost due to increased automation and computerisation but, at the same time, 3.5 million new jobs have been created. The employment growth has mostly been in higher-skilled occupations – STEM fields and technology have experienced most of the growth. Skills like management, creativity, entrepreneurship, technological expertise and complex problem solving are higher in demand than ever.
The employment landscape is undergoing large amounts of change, but members of Generation Z need not worry. Jobs may be disappearing in certain areas but – rest assured – there will be plenty more created.
Rose Poyser - work experience student