Technology is progressing at a break-neck speed and making life a lot easier for all of us – arguably a little too easy if you consider how our cars will soon be parking themselves, while out smartphones become our PA’s – but what about when technology starts taking our jobs?
Although it sounds like the dystopian future of some science fiction novel, a study from Oxford University suggests a third of the British workforce could be replaced by machines withing the next 20 years.
And, unsurprisingly, it’s those at the lower end of the pay scale who will suffer with jobs that pay £30,000 or under around five times as likely to fall foul of tech than those that pay upwards of £100,000.
The new revolution
Technology has been taking jobs ever since the industrial revolution, but we are now on the cusp, or even in the midst of, a new tech revolution – technology has never advanced at such a rapid rate.
The driverless car will most likely prove to be the real marker in the sand – the technology is all but in place, a few minor adjustments and a massive leap of faith from motorists and the face of driving could be changed forever, taking with it millions of jobs, from delivery drivers, to taxi drivers, to hauliers and even race drivers.
If it’s the low-paid jobs that will suffer the most though, the rise of the machines could widen the gulf between the rich and the poor and create a new, truly ‘unemployable’ underclass – the skills are there, they’re just not needed anymore.
The rise of the machines
So far the rapid advancements in technology have served only to help workers, allowing for more work from home opportunities and creating a better work/life balance.
We could, however, be reaching the tipping point – since 2001, jobs such as librarians, travel agents, secretaries and those in sales have seen a 40% drop in the number of jobs available.
On the other hand, the report also found 40% of UK jobs were at little or no risk – those in healthcare, financial services, engineering, computing, the arts and media all look to be pretty safe.
While those is highly-skilled jobs could not easily be replaced by technology.
On the other hand, technology has introduced a number of new occupations that weren’t in existence even five years ago, such as social media manager and data scientist.
And one of the fastest-growing jobs titles on the planet right now is ‘zumba instructor’ – so if you feel your job is under threat from a machine, it could be time to get on your dancing shoes.