Teresa Pierce: A look at jobs on the way out, and jobs here to stay


The February Jobs Report was again more robust than most economist expected adding 678,000 jobs to the economy, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%. This is good trend for economy and the workforce participation rate is inching back up and is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

As the economy sorts itself out after the two-year pandemic, let’s take a look at what jobs are on the way out and what jobs will be with us for the foreseeable future.

For years, we have heard that robots will take over the workforce, and we will all be without jobs. While that hasn’t happened outright, technology including artificial intelligence (AI) continues to impact the makeup of the workforce. While jobs don’t immediately disappear, they do evolve to allow humans to be more effective at their jobs. Even when jobs do disappear, the opportunities brought about by automation will lead to other job 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 Agents: As internet websites allow for more automation of developing and booking itineraries, and people are more accustomed to the technology, it comes as no surprise Travel Agents are on the list of jobs that will be phased out by 2030 if they haven’t already been.

2. Taxi drivers: As the technology for self-driving cars evolves, and it will, the need to pay an employee to do what a self-driving car does not appear to be a sustainable business model. Once self-driving vehicles have been perfected, the cost of transportation will be drive down across all industries.

3. Store cashiers: As many businesses continue to struggle to find entry level workers, the move to automation within stores has been accelerated. Many businesses are moving to self-service checks out processes which will alleviate the need for positions like store cashier.

4. Fast food cooks: The food service industry has really felt the pinch of the labor shortage, more automation has been the key trying to address the shortage. Many restaurants are using self-service terminals to place orders, and using robot technology to flip burgers and put sandwiches together is next, .

5. Administrative legal jobs: These roles are already under threat, with legal administrative jobs and paralegal roles increasingly performed by technology. Automation and digitization will continue to become more refined, and the need for humans to complete these jobs will dwindle 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 put together arguments, establish social relations in the negotiation phase, and find nuances in the data, rather than relying on data and algorithms outright.

2. HR roles: While recent automations have made Human Resources more efficient with data entry and administration, it will be a while before we can replace humans for HR functions such as recruitment and performance management. The human touch is critical to company culture.

3. Tradespeople: In some building projects, you can already find robots laying bricks and performing functions at a far greater rate than a human possibly could. However, human knowledge will always be needed to oversee and manage trade type projects.

4. IT systems analysts: There are numerous ways that IT processes can and will be automated, however, the overall systems still need analyzing and managing to ensure they’re doing the thing we want them to do. These positions may evolve over the next decade, but we don’t see them disappearing.

5. Medical professionals: The health care sector is one where technology is playing an ever-greater role.

Automation and AI can work independently and alongside humans to deliver potentially life-saving treatment. However, the human touch will always be needed both for diagnosis and treatment.

If you need assistance in creating your preferred workforce future, please request assistance 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.



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