Automation means a lifetime of relaxation by the pool instead of endless toil at a desk, right? Not exactly – but neither does it have to be bad news.
The gradual introduction of autonomous systems and processes isn’t a trend that’s going to go away, so rather than hope for the best, here are five ways you can embrace the trend and try to future-proof your job.
1. Learn new skills
The most obvious suggestion, to remain a valuable member of staff, is to continually learn new, relevant skills. For example, right now, many businesses are still at the stage where they just feel their way in the dark when it comes to automation. An IT expert that becomes an internal automation champion is one that doesn’t shy away from the challenge.
The same is true of other related technologies too, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Employees that embrace the changes, and suggest ways they can be further improved, will be the ones viewed as crucial in the future.
2. Become a specialist
This one might sound similar to ‘learn new skills’, but here the suggestion is to become a total expert in one very niche, but core, area. As more jobs are automated, specialist knowledge will still be valued – particularly in roles that can’t be digitized.
A McKinsey Global Institute study at the end of 2017 estimated that by 2030, 60% of jobs will have an element of automation that takes care of around 30% of the total tasks. Clearly, there’s still a lot of room for experts in that environment.
3. Abandon the notion of a traditional career
Where it might once have been commonplace to have a 20, 30 or 40-year career (perhaps even at one company), that work dynamic is one that’s on the way out for many professions – and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In many cases, the alternative path of multiple careers is better for job security overall, according to the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute.
You don’t have to be a nurse, developer, electrician or plumber to have an ‘adaptive’ career. Ensure you have transferable skills that technology struggles with, such as jobs that involve emotional intelligence, leadership and clear communication. This makes it possible to hop between roles with relative ease.
4. Face reality – some jobs will be gone for good
This is a tough one but there’s also an undeniable truth that needs to be faced as well: automation will invariably remove the need for humans in certain roles, regardless of the extra skills, down to the pure productivity benefits alone. According to McKinsey’s estimates, 5% of occupations will be entirely automated by 2030.
However, while that might sound like doom and gloom, there’s also the potential to think about new jobs you might want to do that don’t even yet exist.
Keep an eye on new technological developments and where they overlap with the potential to carve out a new career.
5. Do all of the above
If you hadn’t noticed before now, all the previous suggestions are fairly easy to take steps to implement in a small way. You can start right now to learn new skills, brush up on ‘soft’ ones, and embrace the evolution in the nature of a job and career, without the need to sacrifice your current position.
That way, when the automation revolution is truly in full swing, you’ll be well-placed to take advantage of it, rather than become a victim of it.