Robots will eliminate six percent of all jobs in the U.S. by 2021, starting with customer service representatives and eventually truck and taxi drivers. That’s from a report market research company Forrester completed last year.
So, it’s true. The robots are going to take over the world. Or at least, our jobs.
That gives us four years to make sure we have skills- both hard and soft- that cannot be replaced by robots. College education and technical training will continue to grow in necessity as jobs for unskilled workers fall under automation.
Fast food service and store checkout are areas where automation is picking up rapidly. Customers can already order and pay for goods and meals without any human interaction. Cab companies are declining as tech companies like Uber allow contact between customers and amateur drivers.
“These robots, or intelligent agents, represent a set of AI-powered systems that can understand human behavior and make decisions on our behalf. Current technologies in this field include virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Siri and Google Now as well as chatbots and automated robotic systems,” writes Olivia Solon in The Guardian. “For now, they are quite simple, but over the next five years they will become much better at making decisions on our behalf in more complex scenarios, which will enable mass adoption of breakthroughs like self-driving cars.”
To thrive in the future of automation, workers will need the technical skills to troubleshoot through problems and the character traits to handle pressure and advanced service needs effectively.
Here are some of the top soft skills you need that the most advanced robots cannot take over:
- Ability to work as a team
- Time management
A college liberal arts education exposes future workers to these invaluable skills. Learning the basics of sociology, economics, literature, history, politics and psychology develops a broad understanding of the world and how people operate in it.
The U.S. is projected to create about 7.2 million jobs between 2016 and 2021, according to 2016 study by CareerBuilder. Now is a great time to start developing technical skills in fast-growing fields.
10 fastest growing careers through 2021:
- Online retailing – 32% growth
- Translation services – 28% growth
- Physical/occupational/speech therapy – 25% growth
- Home health care – 24% growth
- Retirement centers – 24% growth
- Telemarketing bureaus, other customer contact centers – 20% growth
- Marketing consulting – 20% growth
- Environmental/conservation organizations – 19% growth
- Computer system design – 19% growth
- Portfolio management – 18% growth