New Study On Automation: Is Your Job At Risk?

There’s no doubt that technology is constantly becoming more advanced and more efficient — and most of the time this is welcomed. However, it does pose a risk for people in certain jobs. If a “robot” can complete the same function, it may mean fewer opportunities for someone to earn a living in that career.

The fields most at risk are a mixed bag, according to a new study from enterprise software provider, AgileCraft. Some results are what you’d expect while others are much more surprising. The analysis cross-referenced the findings from a University of Oxford report on automation with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data to determine which education levels, job fields, and specific occupations are least safe from these technological advancements. It also estimated 39,691,150 total job losses to come in the next 2 decades, which adds up to $41,273,288,245,500 in lost salaries. So, does your career fall in the “risky” category?

Risk of Different Education Levels

Generally speaking, professions requiring a higher level of education are less susceptible to job automation than those that don’t. However, your job is not necessarily safer if you have more degrees. Those with a Bachelor’s degree are actually the safest when comparing different levels of education, with only a 16% risk of obsolescence. In order behind this group are those with an Doctoral/professional degree (32%), Associate’s degree (42%), Postsecondary certificate award (43%), high school diploma (69%), and no education (82%).

This means that professions that require a Associate’s degree are 2.7 times more likely to become obsolete than those that require a Bachelor’s. This jumps up to 5.1 times when comparing jobs that don’t require any education to those that need a Bachelor’s. Still, the fact that an undergraduate degree presents less risk to career-seekers than doctoral/professional degrees is surprising — and means that extra schooling and cost might not be worth it.

Risk of Different Job Fields

 As it turns out, your industry as a whole can also be impacted by automation. This report analyzed the data based on job fields to find each one’s associated risk levels. The fields that are most likely to become obsolete are food preparation and serving (86% risk), office and administrative support (81%), sales (78%), building cleaning/maintenance (77%), and transportation/material moving (74%). These are all very common positions which puts a lot of people’s jobs in jeopardy.

On the flip side, the safest job field are legal (3% risk), management (7%), community and social service (13%), education/library (15%), and computer/mathematical occupations (22%). This makes sense when thinking about it logically — these are fields where there are a lot of grey areas that a computer wouldn’t necessarily be able to figure out using an algorithm. And the computer/mathematical field is full of those generally responsible for the innovation that leads to job automation.

Risk of Different Occupations

 The report also dug into the risk of automation associated with specific job roles. It found that cashiers (97% risk), office clerks (96%), secretaries/administrative assistants (96%), food prep/servers (92%), and retail salespeople (92%). These probably wouldn’t come as a shock to most people, since these five jobs don’t require a high level of education or specialized skills. There are over 22 million people employed across these five positions, though, so the question then is where they would work instead.

The jobs safest from becoming obsolete including elementary school teachers (0.44% risk), registered nurses (0.9%), supervisors of administrative support workers (1.4%), general/operation managers (16%), and business operations specialists (23%). This means that secretaries/administrative assistants are 67 times more likely to have their job automated than their supervisor.

If Your Job is At Risk, Become Indispensable!

Technology is a great thing but it does pose a risk to some people’s careers. While you can’t prevent the future from coming, you can put yourself in a position where you’re more safe from a “robot” taking your job. First and foremost, you can focus on moving up the ladder to get yourself into a management role. Take lessons from successful women who’ve done it and get motivated — it’s within your power to become indispensable.

This guest post was authored by Maddi Salmon.

Maddi works in marketing full-time but enjoys writing about careers, personal finance, and food in her free time. She started her career as an accountant in Los Angeles but soon realized she couldn’t spend all day staring at a spreadsheet. Now she only spends part of her day doing that. She’s based out of Raleigh, but was born in Southern California and raised in Vermont.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.