The Death of Unskilled Labor

 

I interview a lot of people. I have to admit I am genuinely concerned for most of them.. The lack of ambition, drive, skill and even a basic plan to survive is ridiculous. I can train the skill, I cannot train the will. Just yesterday I interviewed a young man (22 years old) that has had 14 jobs in the past 4 years. I asked him what his plan was coming out of High School. He wanted to be in the military, but it didn’t work out. Next he wanted to go to college, but that month he spent doing it was crushing his will. Now he wanted me to hire him and spend time training him in a skill. I wanted to help, but in this case I could bring myself to do it. He couldn’t even help himself. I advised him to get his life together and make a plan and come back and see me. For the love of god, please care more about your life than I do. ( I didn’t say this, but I wanted to)

Death of unskilled labor is coming quickly. It is a freight train barreling down the tracks at high speed an there is nothing you can do about it. The only hope for the unskilled, is to become skilled. Hopefully the wake up before it is here.

Technology is moving at an increasingly fast pace, with every facet of our lives now linked intrinsically to microchips in one way or another. While this might all be in the name of progress, it is also having a negative effect on many traditional careers, which are becoming more and more automated. As a result, it is important to avoid choosing an industry that is made up of disappearing jobs.

There are already warning signs. A recent study found that nearly 60 per cent of young people in the country are currently training for careers that will be two-thirds automated in the next 10 to 15 years. That is a huge waste of skills.

Therefore, if you’re considering a career in one of the following fields, then maybe you should think again.

Here are 13 jobs that are unlikely to exist in 2030:

  1. Assembly line and factory workers

 

Assembly and industrial robots controlled by computers can assemble cars and other products since the late 1950’s. Today, almost all large manufacturing jobs uses robots. The big advancement in the industry come from companies like Rethink Robotics. They are producing smarter robots that do not need skilled technicians to program them.

  1. Cashiers

There has been increased talk in the last few years about the reality of a cashless society, with advances in contactless payments, Apple Pay and even cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin becoming prominent within mainstream society. While not everyone is on board, with some preferring to still use cash to better track their spending, one thing is for sure: the requirement for people to handle the payments is no more. With self-service tills and stations already a common site in supermarket chains and popular restaurants such as McDonald’s, the demise of the cashier seems inevitable.

  1. Packing and warehouse

If you want to be amazed look at Alibaba’s warehouse operation or even Amazons. Currently 70% of the work, completed by humans in the last 10 years, is now being completed by robots. The human factor, and error factor are slowly going away. It is quite possible that in the next 12 years these operations can be 99% human free.

  1. Postal Couriers

While there will still be the need for couriers to deliver parcels, things don’t look good for the traditional postman or woman delivering letters each morning. This is mainly because the things that they deliver won’t exist in the next 20 years, with bills and statements viewed and paid online, junk mail moving to your email inbox rather than your letterbox, and the writing of letters long since a dying art.

  1. Bank Tellers

While banks won’t disappear altogether; many local branches will and already have closed. This is due to the convenience and user-friendly nature of online and telephone banking, where you can make transactions and manage your account with ease – and all from the comfort of your own home, bus or anywhere.

People will still need to consult with financial advisors and experts, so banks will still remain open; there will just be a lot less of them.

  1. Textile Workers

The dwindling number of employees in the textiles industry isn’t due to the lack of demand for products, but rather how they are made. With machines now able to perform a lot of the manufacturing and production work, there are less and less opportunities for unskilled workers.

On the upside, the move towards semi-automation means that highly-skilled specialist operators will be required, albeit in smaller numbers.

  1. The Print Industry

This covers a range of jobs, from newspaper and magazine publishers to the factory workers that produce and distribute them. There has been speculation about the future of the print media industry for some time now, with various publications investing more time and content into their online versions; additionally, millennials are preferring to get their news from less biased, less mainstream sources, meaning that the industry as a whole needs to adapt and evolve or become extinct.

One thing is for sure though, the age of the print newspaper is coming to an end – why wait until tomorrow to read about the news when there is an absolute wealth of sources online that offers minute by minute coverage?

 

  1. Retail Workers

Now not every retail job will go away in the next 12 years, but you can already see a trend. Closing of Toys are US, Sears, and about every other mom and pop shop on the main road. People are buying online. You will see this trend continue and move into other sectors like, grocery, auto, and quite possibly giants like Walmart and Home Depot, as we know them.

  1. Pilots

Although the idea of planes being flown by machines might put some off flying for life, it is actually very likely that you’ve already been onboard an auto-piloted flight. Modern commercial aircraft respond to flight plans, inputted by the pilot, which then calculate and implement the best way of getting there.

Indeed, according to aviation consultant Douglas M. Moss, Asian flight carriers forbid their pilots from landing the plane, insisting the process must be automated.

As the likes of Boeing continue to work on developing fully automated flight systems – as well as the developments in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the military – there seems there will be less need for someone to actually fly the plane. Flight crews have already been cut from 3 to 2; it is likely that by 2030 only one supervising officer will be required to man the cockpit.

  1. Taxi / Uber Drivers/Bus/Truck….Drivers all Drivers.

Driverless cars might once have been the domain of science fiction and James Bond movies, but with advances in technology, companies such as Waymo (Google’s sister company) are getting increasingly closer to bringing one to market. This doesn’t exactly bode well for those who make a living out of driving, such as taxi and Uber drivers.

The industry is making strides and driverless cars are on the road today. Once regulations are put in place by the federal government, you will see this as normal.

  1. Lumberjacks

As more and more paper products become digital, and corporations and governments shift towards a greener and more sustainable environment, lumberjacks are increasingly becoming an endangered species. There is already massive amounts of research into the development of alternative eco-friendly building materials, as well as talk about the longer term future of human labor being replaced by more sophisticated and advanced technologies.

  1. Telemarketers

Most people (apart from telemarketers of course) will actually be pleased about this one, or at least they would be if the annoying unwanted sales calls weren’t being replaced with even more annoying automated sales calls. Many telemarketing companies (especially small ones, that don’t always play so closely to the rules) have adopted this new approach that negates hiring costs and can engage potential customers at any time of the day or night.

  1. Fishermen

While imports of seafood and farmed fish are cheaper and increasingly more common, both the UK and US have been guilty of overfishing. This causes major disruptions within ecosystems, affecting food chains and survival rates of marine life; at the same time, the effects of climate change are also having an impact on the available stocks of fish.

None of this looks good for professional fishermen, who are subject to ever stricter quotas as a result of these developments. Even the few who choose to remain in the profession will be unlikely to escape technology, with research underway into fishing “bots” that can do the job instead of humans.

So What Should I Do Instead?

Although the prospects for these jobs might look grim, it’s not all bad news. A recent report by tech giant Dell claims that 85 per cent of the jobs that will be available in 2030 have not even been invented yet, with the technological landscape set to become unrecognizable over the next 12 years. Many of the jobs in this list will also become redefined as opposed to totally eradicated, with skills that can be transferable to other roles. Flexibility and a willingness to change career will be an important attribute in the future job market.

If you want to be totally bulletproof from the claws of progression though, author Martin Ford recommends pursuing a career in one of the 3 following groups:

Creative Jobs

Jobs that require genuine creativity, such as an artist, a scientist or a business strategist. By their definition, computers cannot and will never be able to replicate true human inspiration, even though some computers are nearing creativity.

Relationship Based Jobs

These are roles that require the building and nurturing of complex relationships with other people, such as doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, or business professionals that might need to cultivate close relationships with clients.

Unpredictable Jobs

These are jobs that are likely to throw up unpredictable scenarios, such as those faced by the emergency services, or trades that could be called out to emergencies in random locations such as plumbers, pest technicians or firemen.- Even these jobs will be affected by technology and will likely not look as they do today.

 

To be ready this is what I recommend.

The time when you finish high school and find yourself, or take a few years off are over. The minimum wage job with no skill will no longer exist. Jobs with repetitive function, or complex data will all be automated. This is not science fantasy, this is science fact.

Do not fear technology. Learn all you can. Repairing broken robots, or programing automated grass cutting machines are going to be the factory worker jobs of the last 50 years. Get used to it. In the end this is the DEATH OF UNSKILLED LABOR- and I for one am glad.

1 Comment

  1. It is definitely a fair point you are making here. I couldn´t agree more with the compelling necessity to train our youth to think about themselves as individuals of a swiftly changing society, where thinking unconventionally, autonomously, creatively and flexibly, will be the core part of their professional fulfillment. Yet, it would be also fair to point out that until the whole educational system does not awake and take a stand in adapting (changing) their structures, tools, content and mechanisms, the youth alone cannot do it by themselves. It needs to start there where the education begins. At best with the genuineness and ability of the teachers and educators, towards their very professional fields and towards their very purpose/vocation. Thank you for your article and many greets from Berlin!
    Luiza

    Liked by 1 person

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