Table of contents

Jobs That Will Become Obsolete In the Digital Era
Career Change

Jobs That Will Become Obsolete In the Digital Era of A.I., ML, Robotics, Automation, etc.

In a world where 45% of tasks could be automated, the rise of AI, ML, robotics, and automation threatens traditional job roles. Are you prepared for the digital era? Let's explore which jobs are at risk and how to stay ahead.

Nelson Marteleira
May 3, 2024

Imagine a future where robots assemble cars, chatbots handle customer service, and self-driving vehicles navigate our roads. This is not science fiction, but a glimpse into the reality shaped by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), robotics, and automation.

These new technologies are rapidly reshaping various industries, and their influence is expanding rapidly, transforming the way businesses operate and impacting various aspects of daily life.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), with its ability to mimic human intelligence, is being integrated into numerous applications, from virtual assistants and customer service chatbots to medical diagnostics and financial analysis. Machine Learning (ML), a subset of AI, is powering recommendation systems, predictive analytics, and personalized marketing campaigns by learning from vast amounts of data.

Robotics is revolutionizing manufacturing, logistics, and even healthcare, with robots performing tasks ranging from assembly line work to surgical procedures. Automation, meanwhile, is streamlining processes in industries like retail, transportation, and finance, by reducing human involvement in repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs. 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses bots to interact with applications, just like a person would, automating some of the most mundane and repetitive computer-based tasks and processes in the workplace.

These transformative technologies are driving significant changes in the job market, creating new opportunities while also rendering some traditional roles obsolete. Understanding their increasing influence is crucial for individuals and organizations alike to adapt and thrive in the digital era.

The focus of this article is to explore the impact of these technologies, specifically identifying roles that are at risk of becoming obsolete due to technological advancements.

We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world, based on our midpoint and earliest (that is, the most rapid) automation adoption scenarios. - McKinsey Global Institute Report

Vulnerable Sectors and Roles

“The Future of Jobs Report 2023” Infographics: Largest growth vs. largest declining jobs

🏭 Manufacturing and Assembly Line Jobs

In the manufacturing sector, robots are increasingly surpassing human capabilities in repetitive tasks, leading to the automation of various roles.

👷🏻‍♀️ Assembly line workers across industries such as automotive and electronics are particularly vulnerable. Tasks like repetitive part assembly, packaging, and labeling can now be efficiently handled by robots, reducing the need for human labor. For example, in automotive manufacturing, robots are used to weld car bodies together and install components with precision and speed.

👷🏻‍♀️ Machine operators, including CNC machinists and welders, are also at risk as automation technologies advance. Computer-controlled machines can now perform intricate machining and welding tasks with high accuracy and consistency, minimizing the need for manual intervention.

👷🏻‍♀️ Quality control inspectors who primarily perform visual inspection tasks are facing automation as well. AI-powered vision systems can detect defects and anomalies in products with greater accuracy and efficiency than human inspectors, leading to potential job displacement.

According to Gitnux Market Data Report 2024, by 2025, 50% of manufacturing tasks will be automated.

However, it's essential to note the potential for job creation in areas such as robot maintenance, programming, and design:

  • As the use of robots increases, there will be a growing demand for technicians skilled in maintaining and repairing robotic systems;
  • Additionally, there will be opportunities for programmers to develop software for controlling robots and integrating them into manufacturing processes;
  • Designers will also play a crucial role in creating new robotic systems tailored to specific industry needs.
Gitnux Market Data Report 2024 shows the benefits and risks of automation in manufacturing industry

💼 Data Entry and Bookkeeping

In the context of data entry and bookkeeping, advancements in AI and software are rapidly automating tasks once performed by humans, leading to potential job displacement.

Studies show that AI and software automation can handle data entry and bookkeeping tasks with high accuracy and efficiency. For instance, a report by McKinsey Global Institute estimates that up to 45% of activities individuals are paid to perform could be automated using existing technology, including data collection and processing tasks.

Specifically, roles such as data entry clerks and bookkeeping clerks are facing the risk of decline as AI and software solutions become more sophisticated. 

📋 Data entry clerks, responsible for inputting and organizing data into computer systems, are increasingly being replaced by automation tools that can extract and process data from various sources with minimal human intervention.

📋 Similarly, bookkeeping clerks, who record financial transactions and maintain records, are seeing their tasks automated by software that can categorize expenses, reconcile accounts, and generate reports automatically.

📋 Payroll processors, who calculate and distribute employee wages, are also at risk as payroll software becomes more advanced, capable of handling complex payroll calculations and tax withholdings with ease.

According to a report by Mckinsey activities involving data collection and data processing are more susceptible to being automated

However, there is a shift towards automation-assisted roles in bookkeeping and data analysis. Instead of performing manual data entry, professionals are now focusing on tasks that require critical thinking and analysis, leveraging automation tools to streamline processes and gain insights from data more efficiently.

Overall, the increasing automation of data entry and bookkeeping tasks underscores the need for individuals in these roles to upskill and adapt to emerging technologies to remain relevant in the digital era.

💁🏻‍♀️Customer Service

Customer service is undergoing a transformation with the rise of chatbots and AI-powered virtual assistants, which are effectively handling customer inquiries.

These AI-powered systems can respond to customer queries in real-time, across various channels like websites, social media, and messaging apps, providing instant assistance and answering frequently asked questions.

Christie Pitts, partner at Backstage Capital, quoted in Deloitte Survey “Chat, Talk, Touch”

As a result, specific roles in customer service are facing potential disruption:

🎧 Call center representatives, who handle customer inquiries and resolve issues over the phone, are seeing their roles automated by chatbots and virtual assistants. A study by Deloitte estimates that the adoption of chatbots in call centers can lead to a 33% reduction in operational costs.

🎧 Similarly, online customer support specialists, responsible for providing assistance via email, chat, or social media, are facing automation as AI systems analyze customer messages and provide relevant responses without human intervention. The same Deloitte study also predicts that AI-powered virtual assistants could save companies over $8 billion annually by 2022.

🎧 Even roles like bank tellers, especially for routine transactions like deposits and withdrawals, are being affected as self-service kiosks and online banking platforms replace the need for human interaction in basic banking tasks.

However, there remains a crucial need for human customer service representatives in complex situations requiring empathy and judgment. 

While AI excels at handling straightforward inquiries, human representatives are essential for providing emotional support, making judgment calls, and building rapport with customers

Research shows customers still need human customer service representatives

📌 Interested in leaving Customer Service? Consider the opportunity to make a career pivot and join the tech sector.

📦 Transportation and Logistics

In transportation and logistics, the development of self-driving vehicles is poised to revolutionize the industry and potentially impact various jobs.

🚚 Self-driving vehicles, equipped with advanced sensors and AI technology, have the potential to automate tasks traditionally performed by human drivers.

🚚 Truck drivers, who handle long-distance freight transportation, may see their roles affected as self-driving trucks become more prevalent. Autonomous vehicles can operate continuously, without the need for rest breaks, potentially reducing the demand for human drivers and lowering transportation costs.

🚚 Similarly, taxi drivers and bus drivers on specific routes may face automation as self-driving taxis and buses are deployed in urban areas. These vehicles can navigate predefined routes and pick up passengers without human intervention, leading to a reduction in the need for human drivers.

However, despite the automation of driving tasks, there will likely be roles for human oversight to ensure safety and handle exceptional circumstances. For example, even with self-driving trucks, human operators may be required to monitor vehicle performance, intervene in emergencies, and navigate complex situations that AI systems may struggle to handle.

Furthermore, human oversight roles may extend beyond safety to include customer service and logistical coordination. While self-driving vehicles handle the actual transportation, humans may still be needed to manage scheduling, coordinate deliveries, and provide assistance to passengers when necessary.

🛒 Retail

In the retail sector, automation is increasingly prevalent in various tasks, reshaping the industry and potentially impacting job roles.

📇 One area of automation is cashiering, where self-checkout kiosks are becoming more common. These kiosks allow customers to scan and pay for items themselves, reducing the need for human cashiers and speeding up the checkout process.

📇 Another aspect of automation is inventory management, where automated stocktaking robots are utilized to track and manage inventory levels. These robots can scan shelves, check stock levels, and even identify misplaced items, improving accuracy and efficiency in inventory management processes.

How Intelligent Automation Is making impact on Retail industry

While automation may lead to a decline in certain job roles, like cashiers and stock clerks, there is a growing need for retail associates with specialized skills:

  • Customer service skills are essential, as retail associates are expected to provide personalized assistance and support to customers;
  • Product knowledge is also crucial, as associates must be able to answer customer questions and recommend products based on their needs and preferences;
  • Additionally, sales expertise is increasingly valuable as retailers seek to maximize revenue and drive sales through upselling and cross-selling strategies.

📌 Discover a range of alternative careers for cashiers that can benefit from your expertise and experience.

The Human Edge: Skills for the Future 

In an era dominated by technological advancements, the value of irreplaceable human skills and future-proof careers cannot be overstated. While automation threatens to render certain jobs obsolete, there are essential qualities that machines simply cannot replicate.

Let’s delve into some of the critical skills for navigating the changing landscape of work and ensuring long-term career success.

💡 Creativity and Innovation

Human creativity is indispensable for tasks requiring original ideas, problem-solving, and design thinking. 

According to a study by Adobe, 82% of hiring managers prioritize creative skills when hiring. This highlights the importance of creativity in driving innovation and staying ahead in the competitive landscape.

💗 Social and Emotional Intelligence

Social and emotional intelligence are essential in various fields, as they enable human connection, empathy, communication, and critical thinking

A report by LinkedIn found that soft skills like communication, teamwork, and emotional intelligence are in high demand among employers. These skills are crucial for building relationships, resolving conflicts, and understanding customer needs.

🤹 Adaptability and Lifelong Learning

In today's fast-paced world, adaptability and lifelong learning are essential for staying relevant in the job market. With technology constantly evolving, individuals need to continuously update their skills and embrace new technologies. 

Research by the World Economic Forum indicates that by 2025, 50% of all employees will need reskilling. Embracing lifelong learning ensures individuals remain adaptable and equipped to navigate the changing job landscape.

The Future of Jobs Report 2023” Infographics: Businesses' top 10 skill priorities for workforce development from 2023 to 2027

New Job Opportunities in the Tech Sector

As technology advances, new job opportunities emerge in the tech sector. Roles such as No-Code experts and AI specialists are in high demand.

No-Code development platforms empower individuals to build software applications without coding expertise, democratizing access to technology and opening up new career paths. Similarly, AI specialists play a crucial role in developing and implementing AI solutions across various industries.

NoCode Institute’s Programs: Overcoming Digital Obsolescence

To equip individuals with the skills needed to thrive in the digital era, the NoCode Institute offers cutting-edge education in no-code development, visual programming, and user-friendly AI technologies. Our programs empower individuals to break into the digital economy without the need for coding expertise, providing accessible and inclusive reskilling solutions.

With our focus on practical skills and hands-on learning, graduates of the NoCode Institute are prepared to embrace the future of work and overcome digital obsolescence.

Conclusion

The rapid advancement of technology is reshaping the job market, with certain roles vulnerable to automation. Jobs in manufacturing, customer service, transportation, retail, and other sectors are at risk as AI, ML, robotics, and automation technologies continue to evolve. However, amidst these changes, there is a clear path forward for individuals willing to embrace lifelong learning and develop future-proof skill sets.

Creativity, social and emotional intelligence, adaptability, and continuous learning are becoming increasingly important in the digital era. These irreplaceable human skills are essential for driving innovation, building meaningful relationships, and navigating the ever-changing landscape of work.

While some roles may become obsolete, new opportunities are emerging in the tech sector and beyond. NoCode Institute’s programs offer a solution to overcoming digital obsolescence, empowering individuals to thrive in the digital economy without the need for coding expertise.

As we look to the future, it's essential to recognize the opportunities that lie ahead and the continued need for uniquely human capabilities. By embracing lifelong learning, adapting to new technologies, and cultivating our innate talents, we can navigate the challenges of automation and build fulfilling, future-proof careers in the evolving job market.

FAQs

1. Which industries are most vulnerable to job obsolescence in the digital age?

Industries like manufacturing, customer service, transportation, and retail are vulnerable to job obsolescence due to automation. Tasks like assembly line work and data entry are increasingly automated, emphasizing the need for workers to develop creative and interpersonal skills to stay relevant.

2. How does automation affect unemployment rates?

Automation can increase unemployment rates as machines replace human workers. While it boosts productivity, it reduces the need for human labor. This highlights the importance of reskilling to remain employable in a changing job market.

3. What are some examples of jobs that have already been replaced by A.I. and automation?

Jobs such as data entry clerks, cashiers, and assembly line workers have been replaced by AI and automation. Self-checkout kiosks and automated systems demonstrate this shift, necessitating new skill acquisition for workers to remain competitive.

4. What steps can individuals take to future-proof their careers in the face of technological advancements?

Future-proofing careers involves developing skills like creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence. Continuous learning and exploring new career paths in growing industries are also essential for long-term employability in the face of technological advancements.

5. What role does education play in preparing individuals for the changing job market?

Education is vital for preparing individuals for the changing job market by providing technical and soft skills. Lifelong learning through formal education and professional development ensures adaptability and relevance in evolving industries.

6. Are there any sectors that are expected to experience job growth despite advances in automation?

Healthcare, technology, and renewable energy sectors are expected to grow despite automation. These industries rely on human expertise and specialized skills less susceptible to automation, offering stability and growth opportunities in the evolving job market.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nelson Marteleira

Nelson is the co-founder NoCode Institute. He is an experienced NoCode specialist and developer with a solid portfolio. Nelson helps bring ideas to reality.

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