Are the robots coming for your job?

We keep hearing that robots and machines are taking over the world and that technology will make many jobs obsolete

Mon, July 28th, 08:54


A paper published by the University of Oxford highlights that nearly half of US jobs could be in danger of computerisation. Robots have already taken over most production lines, and as technology advances it takes over more and more day-to-day tasks. You only have to look at what the iPad has done away with – stopwatches, torches, notepads, books and maps, to name but a few.

You can’t worry about global technology trends, but what you should realise is that you will more than likely work into your 70s. Even at 42 you are less than half way through your working life. There is no doubt that your working environment will change substantially throughout your career.

So, what are the most important points to ensure you remain valuable in tomorrow’s workforce?

Keep up to date with technology: Technology is no longer a support to your business. It will become integral to your business, whether it is mobile payments, 3D printers, selling through social media or development of a new app. The key is to realise that technology will only become more relevant. Don’t be a technophobe. Upskill, and realise that if 3-year-olds can use iPads, then it can’t be that hard.

Change: You need to be willing to change. Jobs of the past saw people work one career for 20 years. That is rarely going to happen anymore, with more frequent job moves and employees comfortable with working contract or temporary roles. If you have been working in one firm or one job for a long time, you need to look up once in a while and ask yourself what you are learning. Being very good on one process or one technology could easily mean your job becomes obsolete in a number of years. This means being open to change and learning while on your job, rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen.

People skills: Despite all the advances in technology, the key jobs which will not be overtaken are those with a huge people element. While we could have robots teaching our kids or robots treating patients, we know for a fact that the experience will be lessened given how complicated we are as human beings. Jobs like teachers, career guidance counsellors, coaches and GPs, to name but a few, will never truly be usurped by technology.

Creativity and innovation: Machines can be programmed to correlate data or construct complex devices, but innovation can’t be programmed. The best ideas come along when you correlate data that shouldn’t go together. Imagine trying to pitch the idea for a website where we share every facet of our personal lives online before Facebook came along. Unique ideas come from illogical, human creativity so use yours whenever you can. After all, those job-killing machines won’t invent themselves.

Now, more than ever, the key is to be open to learning new skills, be creative in everything you do and work on your uniquely human skills such as; management, coaching, selling or influencing. So when the inevitable robot overlords do take over the world you can hopefully get a good job on the Death Star.

Take the next step toward your future career on our job board.

Peter Cosgrove

The Irish Times