The current and potential impact of automation on our workplaces and jobs of the future is a hot topic right now. In fact, it’s highly likely you’ve read or heard about statistics explaining how machines are going to change human’s jobs forever. 

At one point or another, we have all had questions about the gravity of the situation when it comes to automation. We have all wondered if we should really worry about machines taking over our jobs, which skills we should actually consider for the future, and how our workplaces are changing with every new trend in technology. 

The echoes of these questions have become louder in the last few months. As the global economies succumb to COVID-19, new work models and ethics are beginning to define a ‘new normal’ which has accelerated the rate at which artificial intelligence and automation are approaching us. 

Should you be scared? No! Should you do something about it? Certainly! What? Let’s find out.

Jobs of the Future

Is the Future of Work Bright?

Long answer short. Of course!

This isn’t the first time humans have feared that machines could take over their jobs. The same questions were raised in the 18th century when the First Industrial Revolution began in Britain and gradually spread to other countries like the United States. Back then, manufacturing processes — especially in the textile industry — were industrialized. 

Today, technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will revolutionize our workspaces. Automation is fast approaching and many believe that within the next five years more than half of the current jobs will be done by machines. Not to mention that many of these jobs might not come back. 

But, what’s encouraging is the fact that we’re not in the 18th century when the only way to learn a new skill  was to attend formal training. Today, you have the opportunity to learn about and get skills in most emerging technologies — Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data, Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Autonomous Technologies — from the comfort of your home through online learning.

What Will Jobs of the Future Look Like

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2018, this is the rate at which automation is approaching us:

Jobs of the Future

If these numbers are accurate,  then now is the time to start preparing for this transformation. 

Regardless of which side of the debate you are on — for automation or against automation, one thing that everyone agrees on is that we need new skills. Workers and organizations need to adopt new skills and ways to work. The future of work is not just technical skills like mathematics, cloud computing, and data analytics. Additionally, it is also human skills like creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and negotiation.

According to WEF, within the next five years, technological innovations like the below could change the world as we know it (and we couldn’t agree more):

  • AI optimized manufacturing
  • Quantum computing
  • Preventative health approaches in healthcare
  • Robotic retail
  • Future of construction is in IoT, AI image capturing and data sets, and this has already begun
  • Machine learning and AI expedite decarbonization in carbon-heavy industries
  • Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET) will become mainstream

Strategies to Prepare for the Jobs of the Future

The recent Future of Jobs Report by WEF states that one of the biggest challenges for managing this change is the lack of understanding among employees and employers. The report highlights the inefficiencies to identify the impending technological changes. 

One of the highest rated future workforce strategies suggested by the report is to invest in reskilling efforts. However, the benefits of these efforts can only be reaped when they aren’t based on past successes and current trends. The reskilling efforts by organizations or the online courses you choose need to be aligned with the needs  of the future.

Here are some strategies that will define the jobs of the future.

Jobs of the Future

Easier said than done, reskilling can’t happen overnight. For many ageing economies — less proportion of youth population — it doesn’t make sense to transform the current education system. They need to look beyond that to keep up. Currently, the world population has a median age of 29.6 years which isn’t the usual learning age. Enters the concept of lifelong learning which would need proactive action from governments and organizations and behavioral change from all of us.  

For example, Denmark allocates funding for two weeks of certified skills training annually for adults. The strong emphasis  placed on in-work training helps explain the  very high degree of employment mobility in Denmark. With 70% of workers considering mid-career transitions a ‘good thing’, compared to 30% or less in most other European countries. At the  company level, organizations can use technology to reskill and upskill their employees.

Is Reskilling & Upskilling the Way Ahead?

Yes! There is no other way. Millions of people have lost their jobs, millions of these jobs are never coming back. The jobs of the future are not like jobs of today; just like the jobs of today aren’t like the jobs of yesterday. 

The ‘future of work’ isn’t in the future anymore. It’s as real as the current pandemic. 

AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicles are all realities surrounding us everyday.. It’s time that you embrace the change and prepare for it. Remember the future belongs to doers so be sure to pursue employable skills.. Check out our Nanodegree programs, which have been trusted by global students to achieve real career outcomes.