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How Can You Robot-Proof Your Career?



How Can You Robot-Proof Your Career?

In January 2018, Amazon unveiled its very first totally cashier-free grocery store. With a roster of over 500,000 workers, it wasn’t for a lack of competent employees but rather a living, breathing experiment for the power of automation. Nearly 50% of employers say that automation could lead to a reduction in their own workforce as early as 2022, but instead of simple replacement, the relationships between human worker and robot worker could lead to unique and creative synergies.

Where Is The Automation Risk Coming From?

Today, almost 20% of what we do at work could become automated, but this isn’t something to fear. An automated workforce increases productivity in business operations by making processes up to 5 to ten times faster and by 2030, automation could contribute an extra $15.7 trillion into the global economy. Grandiose predictions of heightened productivity and increased profits aside, what do we have that robots don’t have? As of yet, it’s shown impossible for robots and automated machines to authentically replicate human emotions, thought, and subtle communication skills. What sets us apart from advanced AI technologies gives us good insights into what really makes us human. This keeps positions like in-person customer service professionals and team managers in high regards, staffed by qualified and talented professionals. Soft skills unique to humans include:

  • emotional intelligence
  • empathy
  • creativity
  • leadership skills
  • motivation
  • curiosity

How Can You Prevent Yourself From Being Automated Out Of A Job?

Reliance on soft skills is one of the only roadblocks for the success of automation, leading to disagreements among experts on the practice impacts of automation. One study has even suggested that under 5% of occupations can become fully automated given the current technologies. Working well under conditions of predictable activity, both digital and physical, jobs in the medical, technology and education fields show some of the lowest possibility of becoming automated. But just because these industries have low automation potential doesn’t mean that they’re the only positions with job security. It’s what makes these jobs so human that we can take a lesson from. So even if you’re not in the medical or educational fields, what can you do to keep your job robot-proof?

For those finding themselves in jobs at high risk for automation, pivoting is a good option. While switching up jobs may seem like a scary concept at first, especially if it’s been your wheelhouse for years, consider that over 35% of American have changed their own jobs in the past three years. If leaving your job entirely just doesn’t feel right, consider moving up a rung or two on the leadership ladder to utilize valuable managerial skills. Boost your resume content by joining volunteer projects as an excellent way to not only learn new skills but help a good cause in the process. According to 82% of employers, they are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteer work on their resume – let’s see a robot that can do that.

For teachers and surgeons, the human element is a key driving force towards success. Take a look at this infographic for more on what we can learn about soft skills, how they will become more valuable as automation grows, and what it takes to save our careers from automation.


Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency , based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.