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Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing
the workplace. Americans must adapt for their
careers to flourish.

Headlines paint a dire picture of mass unemployment in a robot-dominated future, but the future isn’t as bleak as you might think. Some experts say AI and new technologies will generate more jobs than they destroy.

That said, the type of work we do is changing. Repetitive and physical tasks like data entry and programming will be replaced by jobs requiring creativity, empathy, and sense-making. In many ways, these new jobs can supply a boost up the career ladder, as long as you’re able and willing to acquire the training.

To prepare for the future, you should consider:

  • Bolstering your hard and soft skills. Hard skills will be required for new, AI-based jobs like data scientist and algorithm engineer. At the same time, soft skills like good communication and teamwork will prepare you for the increasing number of service sector jobs that require high emotional intelligence.
  • Moving to prominent cities or suburbs. By the looks of it, cities and outlying suburbs are poised to receive the lion’s share of new jobs created by AI. To benefit from the technological revolution, you may have to move.
  • Securing additional education. Taking classes to acquire new skills prepares you for the future of work while giving you material for the Education and Skills sections of your resume.

The truth is, you’re probably already aware of the AI revolution — most Americans are, and they’re not upset about it.

Americans accept that automated
technology is coming.

About three-quarters of Americans (76%) are largely optimistic about the impact AI will have on people’s lives and work. Northeastern University, Gallup

Optimistic Impact Mob

Despite the optimism, 73 percent of American workers expect the introduction of AI to result in a net loss of jobs. Northeastern University, Gallup

Net Loss Mob

They are more worried about losing their job to AI (23%) than they are to immigrants (12%), despite the latter being a critical issue in the 2016 election. Northeastern University, Gallup

Critical Issue Mob

They are evenly split on which skills will protect them from losing their job.

  • 49% say soft skills (e.g., teamwork, communication, creativity, critical thinking)
  • 51% say hard skills (e.g., math, science, coding, ability to work with data)

Northeastern University, Gallup

Even recruiters fear the takeover of AI. They ranked it as the No. 1 threat to the recruiting industry.

Takeover Ai Mob

Top Echelon

However, while AI will kill some jobs, it also
creates new ones.

  • Machine-learning engineer
  • Data scientist
  • Computer vision engineer
  • Data warehouse architect
  • Algorithm engineer


In fact, researchers say, AI will create more jobs than it destroys.

By 2022, AI-enabled automation will displace 75 million jobs but create 133 million new ones, according to the World Economic Forum. World Economic Forum

Automation Mob

Meanwhile, Dun & Bradstreet found that 40 percent of companies are adding jobs because of AI, while only eight percent report cutting jobs. Dun & Bradstreet

Adding Job Mob

However, these new jobs are appearing in cities that are already economic juggernauts…

Here are the top five cities for new AI jobs:

  • New York, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, D.C.
  • San Jose, CA
  • Seattle, WA

… and the shakeup caused by automation will not be equally distributed.

Here’s a list of occupations ranked from the most to least susceptible to being replaced by automation:

High Risk 70%–100%:

  • Production
  • Food service
  • Transportation

Medium Risk 30%–70%:

  • Administrative
  • Maintenance
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Personal care
  • Protective
  • Health support
  • Sales

Low Risk 0%–30%:

  • Health practitioner
  • Legal
  • Computer
  • Science
  • Management
  • Education
  • Social service
  • Engineering
  • Arts/entertainment
  • Business

People are unsure whether they'll need new training as the economy becomes more AI-dependent.

About half (51%) say they would need additional education to secure a new equivalent position should they lose their current job due to new technology. Notably, white-collar workers and blue-collar workers are both split on this question (52% and 50%, respectively). Northeastern University, Gallup

Ai Dependent Mob

However, few Americans (18%) believe they can secure this additional education by themselves.

Just under half of American workers (49%) say they would largely look to employers to provide the education they’d need to find equivalent positions.

  • 21% would look for in-person educational programs at colleges and universities.
  • 60% would look to online educational or training programs.

Northeastern University, Gallup

Like it or not, AI will continue revolutionizing the workplace, and the stats above will prepare you for the changes. Keep reading our 2020 employment stats series for more advice on breaking out from the pack:

Don Sjoerdsma

Don Sjoerdsma

Career Advice Expert

Don is a freelance writer with more than five years' experience in digital media. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Oprah.com, Yahoo! and HuffPost. While at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, his creative use of archival content...

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