By Teresa Pierce for the Tribune
The February jobs report was again stronger than expected by most economists, adding 678,000 jobs to the economy and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%. This is a good trend for the economy and the labor force participation rate is slowly picking up and is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.
As the economy recovers from the two-year pandemic, let’s take a look at which jobs are on the way out and which jobs will be with us for the foreseeable future.
For years we heard that robots would take over the workforce and we would all be out of a job. Although this has not happened, technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), continues to impact the composition of the workforce. Although jobs are not disappearing immediately, they are evolving to allow humans to be more efficient at their jobs. Even when jobs disappear, the opportunities created by automation will lead to other employment opportunities potentially in new industries or sectors. According to Karl Tippens of Contractbook, some jobs will disappear and others will have longevity.
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1. Travel Agencies: As websites allow for more automation in developing and booking itineraries, and as people become more tech-savvy, it’s no surprise that travel agents are on the list of jobs to be cut. by 2030 if they haven’t already been.
2. Taxi drivers: As self-driving car technology evolves, and it will, the need to pay an employee to do what a self-driving car does does not seem like a sustainable business model. Once self-driving vehicles are perfected, the cost of transportation will decrease across all industries.
3. Store cashiers: While many companies continue to struggle to find entry-level workers, the shift to automation in stores has accelerated. Many businesses are adopting self-checkout processes, which will reduce the need for positions like store cashiers.
4. Fast food cooks: The restaurant industry has really felt the pinch of labor shortages, more automation has been key in trying to address the shortage. Many restaurants use self-service terminals to place orders, and the use of robotic technology to flip burgers and assemble sandwiches is next.
5. Administrative Legal Jobs: These roles are already under threat, with legal administrative jobs and paralegal roles increasingly taken over by technology. Automation and digitization will continue to refine, and the need for humans to perform these tasks will decrease further.
Jobs unlikely to disappear in the near future:
1. Lawyer: As much as legal analysis and case preparation will become increasingly automated, the human element will still be needed to bring arguments together, build social relationships in the negotiation phase, and find nuances in data, rather than rely purely on data and algorithms.
2. HR roles: While recent automations have made HR more efficient with data entry and administration, it will be some time before we can replace humans for HR functions such as recruiting and performance management. The human touch is essential to the corporate culture.
3. Traders: In some construction projects, you can already find robots laying bricks and performing functions at a much faster rate than a human could. However, human knowledge will still be needed to oversee and manage business-like projects.
4. Computer systems analysts: There are many ways to automate IT processes, but overall systems still need to be analyzed and managed to ensure they are doing what we want them to do. These positions may evolve over the next decade, but we do not see them disappearing.
5. Health Professionals: The healthcare industry is one where technology is playing an increasingly important role.
Automation and AI can work independently and alongside humans to deliver potentially life-saving processing. However, human contact will always be necessary for both diagnosis and treatment.
If you need help creating your preferred professional future, please ask for help at http://www.workforceconnections.org/request-services.html or contact Workforce Connections, Inc. at 608-785-9938.
Teresa Pierce is Executive Director of Workforce Connections, Inc.