Staying Relevant in an Increasingly Automated World

By:Lauren Mineau

A new surge of investment in automation could stimulate millions in investments in the US economy and lift interest rates by the 2020s, according to a recent report by Bain and Company.

Automation may eliminate 20 to 25 percent of current jobs, hitting middle- to low-income workers the hardest. Investments are expected to peak then decline around the end of the 2020s and feeble demand growth will prevent expansion, the report notes.

More and more companies are likely to bridge gaps in their office’s needs with automated technologies and could save the companies money because they don’t have to pay benefits or other costs, but the surge could make actual human salaries become stagnant, Bain and Company noted.

How do we stay competitive against the surge of automation? How do we stay relevant against the robots?

Always Learn

If your workplace attitude is to clock in, crank out and go home without blinking an eye – you’re likely a perfect candidate to be replaced by a bot. Stay open minded and learn every day, whether it’s about something that can help your job directly or about what others do to keep your company moving forward. Knowledge is power and if you already have a good base of it, the bot that may have taken your desk will have to be reconsidered.

Asking about professional development courses to keep learning alive will show initiative and can open you up to new skills. If you’re in a management role, they can also help you sharpen techniques to best manage your team with humility and compassion. That’s something a robot will likely never learn!

Be Flexible

In any job, you might have to do some tasks that aren’t your favorite or may not be directly related to your given role. Unless the additional tasks begin to stack up and take away from your priorities, be flexible when asked to pitch in. If you’re being asked, the person inquiring is likely confident that you’re able and can be trusted to be of assistance. That’s a skill that will go far.

If there’s a chance to try something new, take it. Even if it doesn’t become part of your role, you’ll gain knowledge and show a sense to willingness. Many of the automated jobs we see are replacements for something that someone saw as an opportunity to streamline. If all you’re able to do is that task and show no wiggle room, you may be replaced. Staying stagnant will not help you advance, but being adaptable to change will.

Be Human

This sounds easy, as you’re likely a human being reading this. But taking time to be friendly to those you work with goes farther than you think. Be kind to others, be patient with them and be a resource where you can. You can change jobs dozens of times, but if you’re always consistent in being a good person underneath it all – then your value will be noticed.

To read Bain and Company’s full study, click here.