“. . . between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world . . . New jobs will be available, based on our scenarios of future labor demand and the net impact of automation.” 

  • “What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages,” McKinsey Global Institute study, November 2017

It’s no secret that automated systems are about to take over jobs that are currently being performed by millions of human employees. But if you think the biggest problem is that humans will be replaced by robots, you could be wrong. Artificial intelligence-based systems will replace humans in careers as different as power grid management, customer service, traffic control, medical diagnoses and monitoring, inventory management, travel, market analysis, stock portfolio management, manufacturing controls, and many more.

Whether you are a student, an educator, or a parent, how can you identify careers that will offer the greatest security in the years to come?

You can find some answers to that question in  “What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages,” a study that the McKinsey Global Institute released in November, 2017.

Past Trends Offer Some Indication of What Will Happen

McKinsey researchers determined that between the years 1850 and 2015, the biggest increases and losses have taken place in these job categories:

The winners . . .

  • Retail and wholesale jobs increased by 12.8%
  • Education jobs increased by 9.9%
  • Healthcare jobs increased by 9.3%
  • Businesses and repair services jobs increased by 6.1%
  • Financial services jobs increased by 5.9%
  • Professional service jobs increased by 5.0%
  • Government jobs increased by 4.9%
  • Household work increased by 2.71%
  • Utilities jobs increased by 0.8%
  • Telecommunications jobs increased by 0.7%
  • Construction jobs increased by 0.3%
  • Transportation jobs increased by 0.2%

And the losers . . .

  • Agriculture jobs decreased by 55.9%
  • Manufacturing jobs decreased by 3.6%
  • Mining jobs decreased by 1.3%

In some cases, those numbers do not serve as strong indicators of what will happen in the future. Government downsizing, for example, could limit the creation of more government jobs. But the McKinsey study also pinpoints specific sectors where demand for trained professionals is likely to increase:

  • Infrastructure and building
  • Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate adaptation
  • Healthcare
  • IT, cybersecurity and other computer specialists
  • Managers and executives “whose work cannot easily be replaced by machines”
  • Educators
  • Manual and service jobs

And One Surprise Finding . . .

If you believe that students would be ill-advised to enter creative fields, you could be wrong. The McKinsey study predicts that “Creatives” like artists, performers and entertainers are likely to see more employment opportunities in the future. Why? Because if jobs and work time decrease, people will need to be entertained.

Finding the right career pathway for you

Participate in a Student Research Foundation Career Pathway Study and you will be empowered with new information to make career and educational decisions that ultimately align with your interests, passions, and aptitudes.

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