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What jobs are safe from automation?

The path to automation requires robots to collaborate with humans, rather than simply replacing them entirely. Most jobs will still require human intervention to some degree.

The risk of job automation is higher in predictable, manual and repetitive work environments and in industries with lower regulations.

The risk of automation is lower in unstructured, dynamic and unpredictable work environments and in industries that involve high regulatory scrutiny.

The US investment bank Goldman Sachs, for example, employed more than 600 traders in its heyday. Thanks to machine learning algorithms capable of performing complex operations, these 600 operators have been reduced to just two. Instead, about a third of its workforce now works as computer engineers.

Amazon, for example, is using 45,000 robots in its warehouses. But at the same time, it is creating thousands of new jobs for humans in its logistics centers.

We know that robots are not good at grabbing, picking up, and manipulating items in unstructured environments.

The risk of job automation is higher in predictable work environments and in industries with lower regulations. This includes jobs or tasks that are manual and repetitive.

This has happened to manufacturing. It is now affecting more than 10.5 million jobs in restaurants, cleaning functions and warehouses.

In hospitality, the ease of automation is high for repetitive and manual tasks such as making coffee or preparing specific dishes. This is particularly true in environments with highly structured menus and processes.

Many startups are working on digital payment software and table orders to replace the tasks of tellers and servers.

Automation and Augmentation Specialized Software (EaaS) is rapidly replacing entry-level white-collar jobs in areas such as law (for example, automated document analysis and auditing), media (for example, news curation and summaries based In artificial intelligence) and even software development.

The good news is that the risk of automation is lower in unstructured or unpredictable work environments. This includes industries that involve high regulatory scrutiny.

In healthcare, dynamic decision making in unpredictable work environments makes these patient-facing jobs difficult to automate, especially when a high degree of emotional intelligence is required.

Although trucking has a high risk of automation, this is unlikely to happen widely in the next decade due to regulatory challenges. While the technology has the potential to reduce manual labor, it faces regulatory challenges as it still requires a human driver to drive off-road.

The construction industry, for example, is unstructured and dynamic. It requires human supervision.

Employee retraining and training will be a recurring theme in the future of work. Future-proof jobs will require constant retraining, relearning, and the acquisition of up-to-date skills and experience so that we can always be future-proof and job-ready and safe from automation.