Posted on 09/20/2016 at 02:13 PM by Liz Determan

Routine Jobs – Disappearing

 

When working with students in career guidance areas we need to make sure there is a clear understanding that routine jobs are disappearing in almost every career pathway.  It is probably no surprise that we are seeing a dramatic drop in those jobs that are considered routine due to the continued increase and innovation of technology.  The introduction of new technologies and opportunities to use computerized, robotic “labor” is impacting “factory workers who operate welding, fitting, and metal press machines fall into this category, as do forklift operators and home appliance repairers. Similarly, office and administrative support occupations are routine cognitive jobs that focus on rule-based ‘brain' (as opposed to ‘brawn') tasks. These include secretaries, bookkeeping and filing clerks, mail sorters, and bank tellers." (Cowan & Kamarck, 2016) Robotics, automation, computing, information processing; these words and phrases have become part of our everyday lexicon as the processes behind them have transformed the nature of work.  Technology not only made us more productive; it has fundamentally changed the types of the jobs we do, as well as the way that we do them.

 

There are going to continue to be non-routine manual occupations available.  The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook identifies these occupations currently paying $30,000-$40,000 per year.  The percentage of jobs in this category are continuing to decline with little to no opportunity to advance.  This has contributed to the decline of the middle-class. We have discussed the impact of immigration, outsourcing and offshoring jobs that were predominantly held by the lower and middle class of workers.  While these factors continue to have an impact on the workforce and employment opportunities,

 

“The press has recently been awash in stories of worker robots of ever-increasing ability making human labor obsolete. Is it true that we are approaching a future of a mechanized workforce where humans need not apply? Experts’ opinions on the future of technological development vary spectacularly, as do views on the nature and magnitude of robotics’ impact on society and mankind’s ability to adapt. But one thing is collectively agreed upon: robotics has begun and will continue to transform the workforce in profound and inevitable ways. A 2013 paper by Oxford academics Carl B. Frey and Michael A. Osborne predicts that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation.”(Guan, 2015)

 

Cowan & Kamarck, 2016, third way, fresh thinking; http://www.thirdway.org/report/jobless-recoveries

Guan, Melody (8/26/15), “Rise of the Robotic Workforce”; Political Review, http://harvardpolitics.com/online/rise-robotic-workforce/


 
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