New "technology" has impacted human jobs for hundreds of years, but the variety and types of jobs that machines can do is expanding exponentially. That leads to the question of when your job will be affected if it hasn't already. Harvard Business Review says that currently, less than 5% of occupations are entirely automated, and about 60% of occupations have at least 30% of tasks that can be automated. The good news is that there is still plenty of work even as that work is changing.
Some industries have been impacted more severely but all of us should really prepare. Even if our jobs aren't likely to disappear, we can make ourselves more marketable by taking important steps:
- Continue your education and training. Are you keeping your industry knowledge and skills up to date? Be proactive. Today there are many options including online learning which is less costly and more convenient for many workers. Ask your employer whether it would be willing to pay for classes. If you are an employer, encourage employees to improve their skills and learn new ones. If you can, offer incentives like tuition reimbursement, bonuses or other rewards.
- Network. Join relevant associations and go to meetings. You will feel more comfortable networking if you start to do it before you need a new job. Be helpful to others who may be looking for other opportunities. You never know when you may be the one in need.
- Maintain your list of contacts. Keep track of people you have worked with, past customers and others who may be of help in a job search.
- Set aside emergency funds. Depending on your family needs, you may need to save 6 months to a year of living expenses in case you find yourself out of job for a prolonged period.
- Plan for the long term. This might be a good time to investigate a new career, lay the foundation to start a business, cut unnecessary expenses or take other steps to put you in a better position for a future change. The sooner you begin, the easier it will be to make a transition. The situation you want to avoid is being caught unaware and unprepared.
Those able to commit to lifelong learning and develop skills that are transferable will find it easier to deal with technology changes. Regardless of your age or abilities, consider what you can do to protect your future.
For more tips, read my post on How to Cope with the Fear of Losing Your Job.