Check if your career is being endangered by disruptive tech and machines


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The global job landscape will be transformed by the fast adoption of tech and robots across the production and distribution value chain, according to a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report. Going by the report, this transformation is expected to peak in 2025, thereby rendering half of the world human labour force jobless.

WEF said currently about a third of all work tasks in the globe are being handled by a machine. It explained that the deployment of machines (robots) to carry out business activities will see a surge going forward as a result of the pandemic which has led businesses to look for ways to cut cost in a bid to survive. This is in additions to how businesses strive to adhere by health agencies aggressive COVID-19 guideline policies aimed at minimizing human contacts.

The economic forum warned that expected surge in the adoption of machines at the production levels forms a major threat to the unskilled and semi-skilled labour force. A large chunk of these segments of the 3 billion global work-force is most likely to be retrenched as businesses right-size to balance the book.

According to Saadia Zahidi, managing director at WEF, the accelerated deployment of machines to replace human workforce has “deepened existing inequalities across labour markets and reversed gains in employment made since the global financial crisis in 2007-2008.”

The WEF expatiated further on the danger posed by the accelerating adoption of machines in place of the human labour force to carry out work tasks.

 “It’s a double disruption scenario that presents another hurdle for workers in this difficult time. The window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast,” it said.

Meanwhile, the WEF report has some positive news for those engaged in rendering skilled services such as communication, advice, decision-making, reasoning, and interacting. It said these roles will be in high demand as other skills decline in relevance.

More, highlights some roles that will likely be displaced by robots in the next few decades. The roles include:

  1. Telemarketing
  2. Sewing
  3. Photographic process work
  4. Processing machine operators jobs
  5. New account clerk jobs
  6. Administrative service manager jobs
  7. Cargo and freight agent jobs.

Larry Alton of Forbes cited McKinsey & Co.’s factors that will dictate the pace of automation across industries. These factors comprise:

  1. Technical feasibility. Some tasks are simply easier to automate than others, as any programmer can tell you.
  2. Costs to automate. If the automation would require a team of highly-skilled engineers working for a decade, companies aren’t likely to invest in it.
  3. Relative scarcity, skills, and costs of human workers. If the work is already cheap, employers aren’t inclined to try replacing it. On the other hand, if it’s hard to find skilled workers, and they’re expensive to hire, automation may look more attractive.
  4. Secondary benefits of automation. Cost savings aren’t the only benefits of automation; in some industries, automation may lead to greater safety or less environmental impact.
  5. Regulatory considerations and social acceptance. Some industries are subject to stricter regulations, so a governmental or public objection may slow down automation in these areas.

Alton, however, offers strategic solutions for beating the negative impacts of the accelerating AI and robot disruption on jobs. He advised:

  • Know your automation potential. Become familiar with just how replaceable your job is, and how that might change in the future. If you know you’re in a high-risk industry, you can take steps now to prevent your replacement.
  • Acquire expertise. The more skills, knowledge, and experience you have, the less likely you are to be replaced or automated, so acquire whatever you can, as fast as you can.
  • Manage other people. Managerial and directorial roles are less likely to be replaced. Try to achieve a position here.
  • Hedge your bets. Don’t be afraid to branch out and develop multiple skill groups; that way, if one of your potential career paths comes to a halt, you can pick up elsewhere.
  • Stay ahead of the trend. Pay attention to automation breakthroughs in your industry, so you aren’t taken by surprise.
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.


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