An analysis by Deloitte shows that 48% of current Swiss jobs could be lost to automation. Administrative, secretarial, agricultural and production jobs are most at risk. Most jobs set to go require low levels of education but some requiring highly educated people will disappear also.
Self-driving vehicles, 3D printers, speaking robots and artificial intelligence will all replace humans in certain professions. The economist John Maynard Keynes declared in 1930 that “We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come – namely, technological unemployment”.
Deloitte Switzerland, took a study by economists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne from the University of Oxford, which calculated how many jobs in the USA are at a high risk of being replaced due to automation, and applied the same analysis to Switzerland.
Fortunately John Maynard Keynes only saw one side of the coin. He missed the creation of all kinds of new jobs, like wind farm engineers, social media managers, App designers and Yoga teachers.
What makes a job future-proof?
The degree of creativity, social interaction and customer service are more important than the level of education. Tasks involving these things are harder to automate and harder for machines to do.
- Switzerland’s skills shortage worsens (Le News – 27.10.15)
Care professions are safe
Examples of future-proof jobs with low to average qualification levels are childcare or medical care positions that don’t require academic qualifications. Fitness trainers and hairdressers also fit the bill. These jobs will also benefit from the fact that many people will spend the additional disposable income derived from automation, on these things. For example, if you save money buying a television made cheaper by automated production, the extra money will often be spent on a personal care and grooming, such as a spa visit, a haircut or a yoga class.
Accountants and financial advisers at risk
Despite the high levels of education required for these jobs they are exposed to a high risk of automation. As computer software becomes more sophisticated these jobs might disappear. The study points out that they expect a steep decline in these roles despite the number of accounting jobs in Switzerland rising by 15,000 over the last 25 years and financial and investment adviser numbers growing by 11,000 over the same period.
Perhaps the only certainty is change, and the only insurance a capacity to adapt.