Automation is touching our lives daily and letting us function more efficiently. Household conveniences now include vacuum robots and smart home push buttons or voice commands for lights, TVs, security, and even refrigerators.
“Powerful new technologies are increasing productivity, improving lives, and reshaping our world. But what happens to our jobs?” That statement and question are from a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company concluding that one in three U.S. workers could give up some of their tasks or entire jobs to robots or other artificial intelligence by 2030.
An excerpt from the study states, “The shift could be on a scale not seen since the transition of the labor force out of agriculture in the early 1900s in the United States and Europe….”
According to another study by MIT and Boston University titled “Robots and Jobs: Evidence from U.S. Labor Markets,” the displacement effect on the workforce will impact manual labor workers who are low and middle-income.
This study hits close to home, indicating that Texas and the Rust Belt are among the areas expected to be impacted. Obviously, we need to stop and focus on offsetting the impact of automation and create new jobs.
When you consider that 75 million to 375 million workers may need to switch JOBS and learn new skills, according to the McKinsey study, we as a nation need to pause for the cause and realize how many jobs — especially Black and Brown jobs — will be lost.
History has proven that technology can create jobs that don’t even exist today and alter existing jobs that won’t disappear completely but are changing drastically.
Some believe the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic spurred the quicker transition of automation and deepened its reach into our world. But the automation of our world was already underway.
To my surprise, the job categories showing the highest percentage of projected growth according to the McKinsey study were:
- healthcare providers
- professionals such as engineers, scientists, accountants, and analysts
- IT professionals and other technology specialists
- managers and executives whose work cannot easily be replaced by machines
- educators, especially in emerging economies with young populations
- “creatives,” a small but growing category of artists, performers, and entertainers who will be in demand as rising incomes create more demand for leisure and recreation
- builders and related professions, particularly in the scenario that involves higher investments in infrastructure and buildings
- manual and service jobs in unpredictable environments, such as home health aides and gardeners
To acquire these high-paying jobs, you have to be technically trained. The reality is there will be many who will be displaced in the workforce, especially in the Black and Brown communities. And remember, there will be new jobs that don’t even exist today that we can explore.
Knowing the job categories where opportunities exist allows us to prepare for the future or retrain for the present.
Sonny Messiah Jiles is Defender Network CEO and publisher.