Fear is acceptable, but complacency kills jobs.

Kambria Johnson

The convergence of demographic changes, the rapid spread of automation, and rising income inequality has the potential to cause unprecedented major economic and employment disruptions on a scale never seen before. Understanding and preparing for these unavoidable disruptions will be critical when it comes to future-proofing jobs.

In fact, there are 62 challenges that employees face in the workplace.

People do not intend to fail. They simply fail to plan for and prepare for the unavoidable.

While fear is a natural human emotion that can paralyze us, it is complacency that will ultimately kill them and their jobs.

As a result, we must constantly pay attention to what is going on around us. We must be vigilant, flexible, and adaptable to constantly changing and shifting landscapes.

Fear mongering is profitable.

We read about robots taking our jobs every day.

“Will robots replace me?”

“The robots are on their way to take your jobs.”

“Robots will rob you of your job.”

“Robots are the ultimate job stealing machines.”

We also come across Gallop findings, which discovered that in the United States:

According to 58 percent of respondents, new technology is the greater threat to jobs.
23 percent are concerned that technology will cause them to lose their jobs.
According to 76 percent of respondents, artificial intelligence will change the way people work and live.
According to 73% of respondents, the adoption of artificial intelligence will result in net job losses.

There is no single conclusion that we can draw from the threat of automation, technology, and artificial intelligence, just as there is no single property market in any single country.

It should be noted that many people’s predictions of widespread job destruction may be exaggerated, especially when demographics, economics, income inequality, and job creation are considered.

Automation is limited by a number of factors.

Let’s be clear about something.

Every country, every geographical location, and every job market and industry is unique. Demographics are not the same. Economic growth is unique. Organizations vary greatly.

To say that robots will take our jobs is not entirely accurate.

(For the purposes of this article, the term “automation” refers to robotics, artificial intelligence, and all things technological.)

The cost of deploying technologies is not negotiable. Organizations must be able to quantify and justify the benefits of any technological solutions they invest in. While it is easy to predict that automation will take our jobs, the cost of doing so may be prohibitively expensive for some organizations.

Depending on the country and geographical location, organizations may not be able to justify the significant financial investment in technology just yet. ‘Cheap’ labor may be plentiful. It may be difficult to obtain capital and technology. Access to people with the skills needed to deploy and maintain new technologies may be limited.

According to McKinsey, automation will not happen overnight. There are five key factors that will influence the pace and extent of its adoption, according to them:

  1. The technology must be feasible, and it must be invented, integrated, and adapted into solutions capable of automating specific tasks.
  2. The costs of developing and deploying solutions should not be prohibitively expensive.
  3. Labor market dynamics such as supply and demand, as well as the costs of human labor, can provide an alternative to automation.
  4. Whether these new technologies have measurable economic benefits that can be translated into higher throughput, higher quality, and lower labor costs.
  5. Whether the technology has regulatory and social acceptance that is commercially viable.

According to McKinsey, while the impact of automation may be slower at the macro level within entire sectors or economies, it may be faster at the micro level.

This is where an individual worker’s activities could be quickly automated. Alternatively, organizations may use automation to mitigate potential disruption caused by competitors.

In short, there are some constraints that may prevent automation from being widely deployed and eventually taking over our jobs.

Job losses as a result of automation are unavoidable.

We all know that, whether we like it or not, automation is here to stay. It’s unavoidable. It comes down to the degree or level of impact.

The impact of automation on each of us will be determined by our unique circumstances in the country we live in, as well as our level of preparedness.

Since the dawn of time, humans have embraced automation. Automation has transformed us from an agricultural to an industrial age, from an industrial to an information age, and from an information age to a service age.

In fact, we can’t get enough of the latest gadgets, such as the latest iPhone or TV. We are constantly bombarded with new technologies.

Voice technology is only going to get better, thanks to Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s Echo (Alexa), and Google’s Home. Today’s children can simply ask Alexa or Apple’s Siri to answer a variety of questions.

It’s no surprise that we’ll continue to embrace and incorporate technological advances into our lives.

So, what has changed in our professional lives?

Don’t be surprised if automation continues to infiltrate our work lives and completely transforms or recreates the work we do.

We are all aware that there is always the risk of job automation.

Now for the good news. Throughout history, new technologies have always resulted in an increase in the number of jobs.

And now for the bad news. Technology always causes pain because it destroys well-known jobs while creating new ones. Some jobs have yet to be imagined. It’s a matter of when, not if.

According to McKinsey, 375 million people worldwide will need to be retrained to learn entirely new occupations. It means that people in their forties and fifties who have children, mortgages, families, and financial obligations will need to retrain.

This retraining will not be measured in years. Many of these people will be unable to return to universities for two-year degrees.

The challenge is to retrain people in their mid-career on a large scale and assist them in learning new skills to match employable jobs in growing occupations in their communities.

There are numerous opportunities.

As the saying goes, for every danger, there is an opportunity.

There are now opportunities to protect ourselves from the potential impact of automation. It will take several years for automation to completely replace our jobs, but now is the time to act and prepare for the inevitable technological disruptions and transformations that automation will bring to our workplaces.

We all know that automation will eventually take our jobs. Paying attention to this trend will help us prepare for future adaptation and change.

We can protect ourselves, our jobs, and our income sources from the likely negative effects of automation by taking proactive action now. We can overcome our fears and eliminate the anxieties caused by fear mongering.

Let us stop worrying about the future and start taking action right now.

Keep an eye on what’s going on around us.

How do we prepare for the future and future-proof our jobs?

There are only two words: “interaction” and “technical.”

It all comes down to focusing or bettering our human interaction and technical skills.

Let me explain.

Any automation rollout consists of two parts.

First and foremost, there is the hardware. To develop, produce, and deploy the hardware required for automation, we need the right engineering and design skills.

Second, we require highly technical skills and subject matter expertise to research and program the “brains” behind the hardware in order to achieve the desired results.

Goldman Sachs employed 600 traders at its peak in 2000, buying and selling stock on behalf of its clients. In 2017, there are only two remaining equity traders. Automated trading programs have largely replaced the remainder of the work done by 200 computer engineers.

McDonald’s new technology initiatives are pressuring employees to perform more tasks on a consistent basis without a pay raise. The push for more technologically advanced ordering channels such as mobile apps, delivery, and self-order kiosks is making it more difficult for workers.

Revenue earned per employee increased by 50% at the company. Numbers like that may make McDonald’s more likely to adopt more technological solutions, even if they require some adjustment for the employees.

Without a doubt, computer programming will become a required skill for many high-paying jobs. This will result in even more wage disparities between the haves and the have-nots.

Coding skills will be in high demand across a wide range of professions. Businesspeople who create websites, build products and technologies, and conduct research frequently need to be able to not only use but also program software and develop applications.

We will only be able to effectively develop, program, and deploy machines if we learn and apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

STEM education should be required for jobs that are future-proofed.

When we rely on automation to help us work more efficiently and outsource our work to machines, we free up our time to do work that requires higher level skills. It is about shifting from manual labor to mental labor, creativity, and analysis. It is about developing higher-value skills that are applicable to automation and transformation.

When we rely on automation to replace labor, we need more human interaction to effect the necessary changes. Teamwork and collaboration among people all over the world will become increasingly important. We need to find the right global technical skills to assist us in problem solving and change management.

We will rely on our human interaction skills to complete tasks, collaborate on technical projects, make decisions, and solve problems using crowd-sourcing methods.

This means that higher interaction skills are required for person-to-person and team-to-team communication. These high-touch skills will be extremely valuable in the future.

In essence, the future of work will be defined by human interaction and technical skills.

When we are unable to add value to the design and implementation of machines, or when we are unable to harness the potential of people to perform at their best alongside machines, we should naturally be concerned about automation taking our jobs.

When we understand that the future of work is fundamentally about higher levels of human interaction and technical skills, we should focus on acquiring these skills now rather than waiting for things to happen.

Job losses will result from complacency.

We have been graciously served information about the future on a silver platter.

“Will robots replace me?”

The answer is conditional.

When we become complacent and fail to adapt to the inevitable changes affecting our jobs and environment, robots will undoubtedly take our jobs and income.

We are setting ourselves up for failure when we fail to anticipate the future and minimize the effects of shocks and stresses from future events such as automation on our jobs, incomes, and income streams.

Our jobs and incomes will be lost as a result of our complacency.

Consider this: Do we have the necessary human interaction and technical skills to withstand the onslaught of automation on our jobs and remain employable in the future?

Constant retraining or reskilling is the key to our future survival. We cannot rely on our previous training and education to keep our jobs from being automated.

In reality, skills have a half-life of about five years. This means that half of our current skills will be obsolete in five years. Without any retraining, we will be completely obsolete in ten years.

Our existence will be suffocated if we remain complacent. Don’t let it happen to you.

The first step toward long-term employability is paying close attention to what is going on around us. Armed with the necessary knowledge, we can then take the necessary steps to proactively adapt and retrain ourselves to the ever-changing landscapes.

Shocking Secrets Every Worker Should Know: How to Future-Proof Your Job, Increase Your Income, and Protect Your Wealth, is my book. In Today’s Digital Age, provides information on 62 evidence-based challenges that workers face today. The book offers practical strategies and solutions to these problems.