My father spent over thirty years working in skilled trades as machine repair for Ford Motor Company, and he used to say, “One day machines and automation will take our jobs.”
Through my teen years, I used to wonder if he was right. When I started my first job in a local supermarket, U-Scan, self-checkout systems had just been introduced. My parents refused to use them because they felt the U-Scan system was eliminating jobs that would otherwise be held by cashiers. The new machines didn’t take my job, or the jobs of my co-workers. In fact I later moved up to Customer Service Manager at nineteen years old. Bottle return machines didn’t take jobs, just changed the responsibilities. I’ll never forget taking the smaller bins to the car wash across the street to get hosed out.
Even when I worked on the automotive factory floor for seven years, I still heard a similar sentiment that jobs were being taken by machines. When a new machine was introduced, it wasn’t unusual to hear someone shout, “Machines don’t buy cars, people buy cars!” It was a very common belief that one day robots would do everything, and a lot of citizens would be impoverished due to lack of jobs. However, we fast forward twenty years later, and that’s simply not the case.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 29% more people in the workforce than there was in 1992. Which isn’t off by much, since the U.S. population growth has only been roughly 30% since 1992, and according to Statista and CNBC, there are still over 11 billion U.S. job openings today.
So, how can this be? U-Scans check out four to eight people per cashier, and an automotive assembly plant employs roughly half of the amount of laborers needed to be employed forty years ago. The answer—Technology.
Because of technology, there are thousands of jobs that didn’t exist twenty years ago. The increase in globalization and digitalization has revolutionized the workforce.
The increase in globalization and digitalization has revolutionized the workforce.
Modern technology and science is constantly evolving to keep up with our demands, which creates entirely new career opportunities. Fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and driverless transport are all developing quickly; and many open positions were completely unheard of during a time when people feared machines would take over our jobs.
See a list of popular jobs that didn’t exist before the turn of the millennium.
- AI Engineer
- Driverless Car Engineer
- Data Scientist
- Cloud Architect
- Automation Engineer
- User Experience Designer
- Mobile App Developer
- Social Media Manager
- Digital Strategist
- SEO Analyst
- Head of Culture
- Podcast Producer
- Telemedicine Physician
- Genetic Counselor
- FinTech Analyst
- 3D Printer Technicians
- Sustainability Managers
- Uber and Lift Drivers
- And many more…
Technology hasn’t taken our jobs, it’s given us jobs. Did your career path exist twenty years ago?