Will your job be replaced by automation?

According to Frey and Osborne in their recent report entitled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?,”  47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation in the next 20 years. Is your job on the list? See the report at this link.


If this is true, it brings up some very troubling questions. For example, what will displaced workers do when displaced? And, even though Frey and Osborne state that “wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation,” can all displaced workers be re-educated for higher paying jobs? Where will these jobs come from since the current unemployment rate for higher paying jobs is already very low? Will this new influx of well educated workers reduce pay rates for top jobs?

Even more concerning is that educating and retraining workers is not always successful. For example, as recently reported by Slate, in one well regarded retraining program “businesses have kept on just 1 in 4 of the 23,000 workers who have completed on-the-job training.”

So, let’s review…

  • 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation in the next 20 years
  • Educational attainment reduces the risk, but
  • There are no jobs available that reward educational attainment, and
  • Retraining programs for the jobless do not have stellar success.

The future looks a little bleak for unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

What are your thoughts?

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