The Robots are Coming for your Jobs

2016-09-28 12:17

A robot can do your work... at no Salary

Robots (artificial intelligence) has already taken over many jobs. And things are about to get worse. According to a report by research firm Forrester, the United States can expect a “disruptive tidal wave” destroying jobs after 2021. Jobs in customer services, logistics, the automotive industry, and taxi and truck driving, will be affected the most.

Robots taking Jobs

They are talking about only 5 years into the future... Their research predicts that in 5 years' time, 6% of all US jobs will no longer exist; having been replaced by artificial intelligence.

In South Africa we are not exempted from the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and robots.

Businesses are looking for ways to cut costs, and at the same time improve their customer services or products. The automation of jobs can remove human errors. It can also remove the frustration of a workforce who gets tired and irritated by repetitive jobs. The machines never go on strike... they don't negotiate salary increases... they don't take sick leave.

Have you noticed how many companies where you call now have a “robot” answering the phone? No more: “Hello, how can I help you?”. Today it is all: “Press 1 for Accounts, Press 2 for Technical, Press 3, …”.

Have you booked your movie tickets online? And picked them up at a machine at the movie theater? Yes, you just got served by a machine... not a human being.

The example in the news recently, is Pick and Pay testing a Self-Service Till in one of their stores in Cape Town. This technology is already widespread overseas. Yes, Pick and Pay explains that this will not affect employment...

Want to see your future working “behind a till”? Look here:

Tesco, a supermarket chain in the United Kingdom introduced Self-Service Tills in 2003... That is 13 years ago. This change is coming. Fast.

That vending machine at work, that eats your money and spits out cooldrinks, or chips or snacks... Surely it is taking away a job from someone? And it makes fewer mistakes than a human. And nobody complains that it is rude or unfriendly.

Have you used an Uber, instead of a Taxi? Seen the Uber/Taxi wars? Wait till they both get replaced by a self-driving car.

How to stay ahead of the robots?

Get Qualified

The higher and more specialised your qualifications, the more difficult it is to replace you. Except for Chartered Accountants... we all know they are going to be replaced by software very soon. And lawyers. (Lolz!)

Stay away from easy, repetitive jobs

If your job is very simple, if it is very easy, then a machine will be coming for that job. The simpler and more repetitive a job is, the easier to build a machine to do that job.

Yes, if you “work behind a till”, this is your wakeup call. Start looking for something more high level now.

Get into Management

Some of the most valuable people working with me, are my management team. Thinking people who can troubleshoot, who stay calm under pressure, who is ready to go to extra mile... these people will always be in demand.

Learn, learn, learn

If you are not busy learning new skills to get better at your job... then start now! By getting better and better at your job, you are paving your way to higher level jobs and management positions. Struggling with something at work? Are you Googling the problem? Learning new skills tonight, and trying them out at work tomorrow?

Scarce Skills

Do you know which skills are recognised in South Africa as Scarce Skills? These are skills that we have a shortage of in this country. So right now there are jobs available in these areas. I work for Skills Academy, so here is our page related to Scarce Skills:

About the Author:

Jan Badenhorst works as the CEO of Skills Academy. Skills Academy offers Home Study Courses to people who never completed Matric, or who cannot get entry into Universities.

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