How to Stop Technology From Robbing You of a Job

Posted March 26, 2015 by
Adrian Cruce

Adrian Cruce

A 2014 Harris Poll of hiring managers and human resources professionals revealed that 20 percent of those surveyed had replaced employees with automated technology. For companies with more than 500 employees, the number jumped to nearly one-third. Similarly, Gartner predicts that one in three jobs will be replaced by robots or software by 2025. Numbers like these could make anyone nervous about job security. However, you are far from defenseless against technology’s mass usurpation of the workforce. Read on to find out how to protect your career from a robotic hijacking.

Refine the Human Touch

No matter how advanced technology gets, the one thing we know is that machines will never be able to authentically replicate the soft skills of human beings. Think of a machine in a management position. A machine might be able to crunch numbers and churn out performance reviews, but it will never be able to inspire or lead people.

Likewise, MIT economist David Autor has pointed out that “high-touch” professions like medicine and nursing are largely immune from technology’s threat because of their human and tactile components. Admittedly, a robot might be able to conduct a thorough differential diagnosis. But a machine can’t gently and accurately palpate an abdomen or replicate the reassuring bedside manner of a seasoned physician.

In other words, don’t discount or fail to develop the interpersonal side of your skill set. Your people skills are one potential competitive advantage you will have over an otherwise comparably equipped machine.

Specialize and Synthesize

The more specialized your knowledge and skills, the less likely your position is to fall prey to automation. Education is almost always a reliable way to differentiate yourself, and this is one area where technology works in your favor. If you already work full time, consider pursuing a degree online, such as an online MBA, that will set you apart without interrupting your current career.

With or without an advanced degree, humans’ ability to integrate information and think critically remains unmatched by even the most sophisticated technology. Robots may be able to spot trends in sales data, for example, but they can’t tell you how it should inform marketing, finance, and management strategies. Leveraging your ability to integrate concepts, critically analyze information, and devise innovative solutions to complex problems will give you a leg up on competing technology.

Wait It Out

Even assuming the worst-case scenario — losing your position to automation — all is not lost. According to the Harris Poll mentioned earlier, 35 percent of companies who replaced employees with technology eventually hired workers back for the positions eliminated. The most common reason cited for doing so is that the technology simply didn’t pan out. Additionally, almost 70 percent of companies that have substituted technology for staff have also created new jobs because of the new technology.

The growing sophistication of machines is certainly intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a threat to your employability. By developing your soft skills and further specializing your knowledge, you can establish yourself as an irreplaceable asset to your employer.

Author Bio:

Article written exclusively for College Recruiter by Adrian Cruce, teambuilding specialist and marketing coach.

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