The future of work
“A lot of times people say the new generation is lazy, but I don’t think we’re lazy—we just have resources,” says Gaurav Chauhan, who works in technical sales and support for a marketing agency.
With an interest in computers, Chauhan pursued computer engineering in college. When COVID-19 hit, resulting in many jobs in the IT field becoming automated, he started to question his career choice and thought more about the jobs within his industry that will be in demand in the future.
“I think cybersecurity is something that catches my eye because I know that people are going to be using technology a lot and they’re going to be needing help and assistance from people to keep them secure,” Chauhan says.
Evelyn Akselrod, vice president of strategic development at The Career Foundation, says that the rapid acceleration of technology and automation will cause some job losses. However, other jobs will develop within the same sector and at the same capacity.
“My hope is that automation will not take human jobs,” she says. “It will take the jobs that humans no longer want to work in so that we can actually do the things that interest us.”
Listed below are a few of the many industries that technology has impacted.
Creative roles and entrepreneurship
Using technology to automate the more repetitive and mundane tasks can create more time and opportunities for humans to contribute to society in more creative ways. As well, having access to the internet allows people to learn about certain topics they are interested in before committing to a college or university program.
“People are becoming painters, people are becoming musicians, they’re starting their own business,” says Chauhan. “I think there is more liberty to our choices because of technology.”
Positions that did not exist 20 years ago such as food bloggers, YouTubers and influencers are gaining popularity. The more that people succeed in these types of roles, the more others will seek them out.
The use of self-checkouts has increased over the past few years and are almost as popular as cashiers. According to a study conducted in May 2021 by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, almost 4o per cent of Canadians intended to use self-checkouts most of the time for purchases between June to December 2021. With self-checkouts, the need for cashiers may be reduced in the future.
However, according to Askelrod, e-commerce is gaining momentum and the need for virtual customer support and human interaction is growing. Since many people are placing orders online, customer service is needed if someone is having trouble receiving their order or if there was an issue with the quality of it.
Telehealth has elevated the way that the healthcare industry works by requiring patients to schedule a virtual appointment with their doctor or physician instead of visiting in-person.
“The way we used to provide healthcare was kind of inconvenient to have to drag yourself into a doctor’s office and be surrounded by other sick people,” says Askelrod. “When a practitioner has to do an assessment on someone then you come in for sure, but for a specific purpose.”
That being said, according to Tincture, there will still be a high demand for healthcare workers in the future due to a rising aging population. However, technology advancements will strive to make each interaction between patient and doctor more impactful by reducing the need to visit in-person unless absolutely necessary.
Traditional bank branches may be at risk of closure due to the increased use of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and online banking.
Even though this automation process may decrease the need for humans to carry out some of the repetitive processes involved in the financial sector, it may also increase jobs that require monitoring and maintenance of these systems. Positions such as AI and machine learning specialists, big data specialists and process automation specialists may replace more traditional roles in this sector, such as bank tellers, accountants, bookkeepers and payroll clerks.
When it comes to thinking about the future and making a career choice, it is important to explore and continue learning about industries and trends. Askelrod recommends that young people take inventory of the jobs that they’ve had and identify their strengths and developments.
“Remember the future is friendly,” she says. “Whatever future we desire—we need to contribute to building that.”
About the author
Amy is a former reporter for Youth Mind. She is passionate about oat milk lattes, any film featuring Adam Driver, and tending to her tiny indoor Basil garden.