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Study project Automation effects on workers in different fields, professions: NPR



Automation is already here. Robot helped build your car and pack your latest online shopping order. A chatbot can help you figure out your credit card balance. A computer program can scan and process your resume when you apply for work.

What will work in America look like a decade for now? A team of economists at the McKinsey Global Institute set out to figure out a new report on Thursday.

Research finds that automation expands the gap between cities and rural areas and dramatically affects people who did not attend college or quit not high school. It also designs some professions that are ready for massive growth, or grow enough to compensate for relocated jobs.

Below are some of the key tags from McKinsey's forecast.

Most jobs will change; some will decrease.

"Intelligent machines will become increasingly common in all business. All our jobs will change," says Susan Lund, co-author of the report. Almost 40% of American jobs are in professions that are likely to shrink – but not necessarily disappear – by 2030, the researchers found.

With nearly 21 million Americans, office support is by far the most common occupation in the United States, most at risk of losing jobs to digital services, according to McKinsey. The food service is another strongly influenced category, such as hotels, fast food and other kitchens automating the work with chefs, dishwashers and others.

Meanwhile, "the economy adds jobs that take advantage of new technology," McKinsey wrote economists. These jobs include software developers and information security specialists – who are constantly deficient – but also solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians.

Healthcare professionals – including hearing aid specialists and home health care workers – will be in high demand for the next decade as childhood bombs age. McKinsey also forecasts the growth of jobs that affect human creativity or "socioemotional skills" or personal service to the rich, such as interior designers, psychologists, massage therapists, dieticians, and landscape architects.

In some professions, even when jobs disappear, new losses can be compensated. For example, digital assistants may replace rental desks and clerks that help with letting, but more employees may need to assist customers in stores or personnel distribution centers, McKinsey economists wrote.

Similarly, enough new jobs in transport or customer service and sales will be created to offset the lost by 2030.

Employers and communities could do more to match workers in declining fields to other compatible jobs with less risk of automation. For example, 900,000 bookkeepers, accountants, and auditing firms nationwide can see their jobs discontinued, but could be retrained to become a loan officer, claim adjustments, or insurance guarantees, said the McKinsey report.

Automation is likely to continue to increase the gap between employment growth in cities and rural areas.

By 2030, the majority of employment growth could be concentrated to just 25 megacities and their periphery, while major highways see slower employment and even losing jobs, the researchers found. This gap has already increased over the past decade, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted in his comments on Wednesday.

The 25 megacities (including Chicago, Miami and Austin) and their suburbs (such as Arlington, Va, and Riverside, Calif.) Accounted for more than 60% of net job growth, whereas it only corresponded to only 44% of the population.

Some other standouts with remarkable job growth are: fast-growing smaller cities, such as Provo, Utah, and Des Moines, Iowa;

  • college towns, such as Chapel Hill, N.C. and South Bend, Ind.;
  • rural communities with thriving tourism or oil, mining and other industries, such as Aspen, Colo. Or Kauai County, Hawaii,
  • and aging communities that attract healthcare opportunities like The Villages in Florida or Prescott, Ariz.
  • Some jobs – for example in transport or food service – can meet increased demand in growing and rich aging cities, while decreasing in areas with poorer and declining populations.

    But Americans don't move as much as they used to. The portion of Americans who moved to another country fell by half between 1990 and 2017, said the McKinsey report. And when people move, they move to an area with a very similar profile, which means similar job growth and opportunities.

    "Assuming people will easily move from emergencies to more thriving cities would mean a reversal of the current status quo," the economists wrote. They propose the government and companies could do more to revive falling areas, for example, open offices in more affordable places and improve broadband connectivity for more remote work opportunities.

    Men can face something more displacement than women. Dramatically more risky are people without higher education.

    About two-thirds of the workers in the US have no university degree, which means that they risk losing work with new technology. The researchers found that workers who did not attend college or did not finish high school are four times as likely to lose jobs due to automation.

    "Automation can increase existing education, income and wealth quotas," the economists wrote.

    Latin American workers are particularly affected by this and are facing higher school outcomes. More than a quarter of Spanish-speaking workers are also employed in jobs that can be automated according to the report.

    Some jobs that are growing and not requiring a bachelor's degree include building managers, lift installers and repairers, cost calculators, MR technicians and radiologists. The report called for a better system for lifelong learning and learning for American workers.

    Women currently hold more jobs in areas that are expected to grow, such as registered nurses and personal care personnel. It is likely that they place them better for a more automated future, which potentially accounts for 58% of employment growth by 2030. It is believed that current gender distributions are the same in all occupations.

    Men dominate some of the most automated jobs, such as mechanical repair work and machine operations. At the same time, they also dominate high-tech jobs. And women represent an exceptionally large part of the shrinking work of office workers and administrative assistants.

    "Automation and AI have tremendous potential to increase innovation and productivity, but these technologies require an adaptable workforce with new sets of skills," co-author James Manyika said in a statement. "We can make this an opportunity to upgrade jobs, make them more rewarding and raise people."


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