Thanks to rapid technological advances, the way we do business is changing at a record pace. Some change is good, of course, but some is also quite painful. One concern many professionals have is that robots may soon take over their jobs.
In truth, there is a reasonable chance your job may be impacted over the course of your career. A study from the University of Oxford found that approximately 47 percent of all U.S. jobs are at risk of being automated away over the next 20 years.
What Jobs Are Safe?
The jobs least likely to be impacted by automation fall into three categories. Creative jobs such as artists, engineers, and business strategists are least likely to be automated, as they require new and unique thoughts each day.
Jobs that require extensive human interaction – the "human touch," as some call it – are also less likely to be impacted. These include social workers, nurses, and clergy members.
Highly unpredictable jobs, such as emergency plumber, are likely to escape automation as well. Need for such jobs arises randomly, and the challenges these professionals face change form constantly.
What Jobs Will Be Impacted?
Any role with highly routine duties is at risk. For example, tax accountants could potentially be replaced by computers, and the same holds true for many logistics, transportation, and manufacturing jobs. Since 2014, Amazon has introduced more than 100,000 robots to its workforce
Despite their very social nature, retail roles such as cashiers, counter clerks, and rental clerks, as well as telemarketers, are likely to be automated heavily, according to Oxford's research. The researchers note that "although these occupations involve interactive tasks, they do not necessarily require a high degree of social intelligence," making them prime candidates for computerization.
Mitigating the Impact
There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and minimize the negative impact automation has on your career:
Don't assume you'll work for one company forever. Working for more than one company diversifies your risk and improves your professional network.
Develop more than one salable skill. That way, you'll have other options if your role is outsourced to robots.
Never stop learning. Change is constant. To stay employed, you must stay on top of the trends in and around your industry.
The thought of robots replacing you may be scary, but thorough preparation will ensure you're ready to grow along with the ever-evolving workplace.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.