The majority of jobs predicted to be displaced by automation belong to women, a new 2018 study by the World Economic Forum reports.
The research estimates that of the 1.4 million roles that technology will make irrelevant by 2026, nearly 60 percent will affect the fairer sex, specifically those in office and administration positions.
However, if you're in one of these endangered positions — or simply want to be prepared for the future, you don't have to resign yourself to a sealed fate.
What follows is a simple approach to keeping your skills sharp, your job opportunities within easy reach, and your job search toolkit up to date and ready to work to your benefit.
- Educate Yourself About Your Transition Options
- Reskill for Job Transition
- Put a Hard Focus on Your Soft Skills
Like every snowflake, every job is unique, requiring workers to not only come prepared with a certain level of education, expertise, and experience but also to meld into a unique work environment and unique work culture.
That said, there are many roles both within industries and across industries that have uncannily similar skill requirements. The same World Economic Forum study that illuminated the gender automation gap also took on the task of identifying jobs that closely resemble each other based on shared abilities and responsibilities.
If you think you're on the brink of losing your daily bread to the robots, the first step is using research, like that in the report above, to learn about job prospects with more longevity that you're likely already qualified for.
For example, those in the secretary and administrative assistant roles predicted to be replaced by automation would be well prepared to take on a billing clerk position, and data entry workers could quite easily move into a more specialized and more stable medical secretary role.
But what happens if you're an administrative assistant who cringes at the idea of becoming a billing clerk? Or you're an assembly line worker who can't find any open packing opportunities in your city or town?
In short, what if the jobs that are similar to yours are undesirable, pay less, or are simply unavailable where you live?
Enter reskilling, which is the concept of learning new skills that prepare you for the future workplace. It may sound like a no-brainer, but that doesn't mean you should give this idea no real thought.
It's vital that you strategically identify which skills will be valued today AND tomorrow.
You may think that going back to school and getting a bookkeeping certification could be beneficial. After all, a solid white-collar role like this is a respectable move. The reality, however, is that even highly cognitive roles like this are at risk of being replaced by automation.
For instance, many women who work as tellers at a bank could be just as likely to find themselves without a job in 2020 as those in the male-dominated metal fabrication sector.
Needless to say, don't judge a job by its industry or by its reputation in society. Examine what skills will truly be in demand in the future – and then take the steps necessary to educate and train yourself.
While machines are becoming better and better at taking on even STEM jobs that many once thought were well beyond the reach of automation, they struggle to outmatch humans in roles that demand interpersonal interaction and significant soft skills.
The good news for women is that many of the fastest-growing occupations that require these types of skills — teachers, nurses, and therapists — are female-dominated.
Those who aren't already in one of these soft skill-rich industries would do well to develop and focus on the abilities that go beyond the reach of AI, like:
- Problem solving
- People management
- Creative thinking
- Relationship building
These are skills that the labor market continues to reward, automation aside. And if you can already claim these abilities, be sure to emphasize them in your job search materials as you prepare to look for new opportunities.
You never know where or when an opportunity could present itself, so it's essential to always be at the ready. Make sure you have an updated resume that uses a professional template, touts the soft skills that the robots can't mimic, and speaks volumes about your accomplishments – not just your past duties and responsibilities.
What's more, if you're thinking about changing careers because your position is fast becoming outdated due to automation, consider using a functional resume format, which allows you to emphasize your transferrable skills and areas of expertise rather than your work experience.
And finally, for more help building an outstanding resume, turn to our resume builder. Our online tool makes it fast and easy to create the kind of application employers want to see.