Thanks to recent wide-spread coverage of the significant advancements in artificial intelligence (like this one where Elon Musk says robots will take your job), I've been getting an increasing number of emails and messages that go like this:
"Can you please tell me which jobs and industries you think will be the first to have their jobs taken by robots? I don't want to choose a career path that's a dead-end..."
My response? Stop worrying about robots taking your job in the future. First, studies show it will be years before this is a reality. A study by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) on the potential for automation across 54 countries and more than 2,000 work activities indicated that the number of jobs that can be fully automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology is less than 5%.
More importantly, one-third of new jobs created in the U.S. in the past 25 years were types that did not exist, or barely existed. Think about areas like IT development, hardware manufacturing, app creation, and IT systems management. As we evolve, new jobs and industries are created. Thus, even though a part of your current job will likely become automated in the next few years, you will likely have something new to do in it's place.
Which leads to the more important question...
Ask Yourself: "How Can I Control What I Do Next?"
At Work It Daily, we've been studying the, "every job is temporary" trend since 2009. Having worked with thousands of professionals, we've identified the single most important thing you can do to have control over your career in the future: conditioning yourself to learn and grow on a daily basis so you can do more than respond to unexpected career changes - you can take advantage of them. Shifts in our workplace, our jobs, our careers, and even our industries provide us with daily opportunities for getting ahead. It's similar to your finances. The more educated you are as an investor, the more likely you are to make good financial decisions AND position yourself to take advantage of opportunities lesser-informed people don't see or understand.
So, if all it takes to stay employable against the robots is creating good daily habits designed to keep us informed and grow our skills, why aren't more people doing it?
The Real Career Killers Aren't Robots - They're The Attention-Robbers!
Americans currently spend over an hour each day scrolling through Facebook. Plus, 3.25 billion (yes, BILLION) hours of video are watched each month on Youtube. Usage of the newest social media platform, the one teenagers are currently obsessed with, Snapchat is up to 25-30 minutes per day - and growing. These are the attention-robbers luring people into wasting valuable time they could be using to grow professionally. Ironically, in a survey we did to over 800 professionals, the number one reason they gave for not investing time and money in their own professional development was a lack of time. To which, I say,
"If you can spend an hour a day on Facebook, imagine what you could do if you spent ten minutes on Work It Daily?"
Be honest with yourself. Time isn't your issue, lack of attention is.
Key Takeaway: Pay Attention Now, Or Pay Later
The sad, simple reality is while millions of people are worried about robots taking their jobs, they aren't motivated to do what it takes to fix the problem. They're too easily distracted each day by mindless digital activities. Thus, until one day becomes today, they will continue to expose themselves to the risk of becoming obsolete.
The best advice I can give anyone concerned about a robot taking their job is this: build daily habits that ensure you're:
- Connected to the right people,
- Informed on the latest trends in your industry, and
- Developing a unique skill set within your professional that saves or makes companies money.
In the same way you should be planning to fund your retirement, you should have a strategy for staying employable through the shifting markets of the future.