The threat that robots pose to human employment is nothing new. Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve seen machines displace manual labour, mostly for the betterment of mankind. But something new is afoot. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) advances at an exponential rate, the ability of machines to replace workers has extended beyond manual labour to cerebral work in practically all areas of employment – from customer service to banking to accountancy, retail and beyond.
Some figures are suggesting 40% of the world’s jobs could be lost to AI over the next 15 years. Now this may be scaremongering, as we cannot accurately predict how well AI can replace all the functions of a living, breathing employee and all that goes with it. Most companies would claim that their people are their main differentiator – how will they stand out from competitors if people are taken out of the equation? Competition itself gets called into question.
Nonetheless, for someone carving out a career path, this stuff should matter. So what roles will survive in the decades to come? Or better still, which roles will thrive in the AI era? The Stateside journal Business Insider gives us some good insights in its recent “30 best high-paying jobs of the future”.
Clearly, if you’re part of the AI revolution itself, you’re in a strong position. That explains why applications software developers will be highly sought and highly paid in the future, just as they are today. 250,000 new positions are forecast in the US within a 10-year timeframe.
By the same token, we can expect demand for computer and information systems managers and computer systems analysts to stay buoyant also.
Robots or not, money has always made the world go round and despite automation in the finance sector it seems that accountants, auditors and financial managers can sleep soundly – they will continue to be highly prized in this new world order.
Employment in law, among the oldest of professions, will also grow. Nor will robots be taking the place of physicians and surgeons anytime soon, it seems. Demand is set to rise by 40,000 up to 2026.
The explosion in data will not wain in this era and thus demand for market research analysts and specialists with related skills will rise more strongly than for other positions in marketing.
However much AI intrudes into the workplace, organisations will not run themselves, and general management roles as well as those in operations will be as needed over the next decade just as they are today.
With all the talk of AI, it’s easy to think of a future dominated entirely by tech, sweeping away the traditional roles we grew up with. Not so. Those teaching our kids can look forward to a busy future, as can those tasked with caring for us in our later years.
In fact, demand for registered nurses will rise by over 400,000 within a decade in the US, putting this role top of the list of ‘Best jobs of the next decade” by some distance.
The march of AI may be hard to predict, less so the need to look after people as they get older and live longer.
Top high-paying jobs in the future (US)
20. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
19. Services sales representatives
18. Systems software developers
17. Physical therapists
16. Nurse practitioners
15. Post-secondary health speciality teachers
14. Elementary school teachers
13. Computer and information systems managers
12. Business operations specialists
11. Medical and health services managers
8. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
7. Physicians and surgeons
6. Management analysts
5. Accountants and auditors
4. Financial managers
3. General and operations managers
2. Applications software developers
1. Registered nurses