Top 5 Industries Likely to Become (More) Automated

How you can recession-proof your skillset to thrive in each changing industry

Two employees operating a robotic craneThat some industries are changing is inevitable. The need to advance, to grow and to thrive with regards to innovation is critical for any business to remain competitive in an ever-changing workforce.

One thing that’s true across all industries is that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will continue to be a part of modern-day business, in essentially every industry, in one way or another. In fact, in several industries in particular, AI and automation is likely to advance faster than in others.

According to a recent study conducted by Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), those industries are:

  • Technology and Communication
  • Finance and Banking
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing and Logistics
  • Healthcare and Retail (tie)

If you happen to work in one of these industries, don’t worry. Here’s how you can recession-proof your skillset to be ready for whatever future technology throws your way.

1. Technology and Communication

Unsurprisingly, the technology industry has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to incorporating technological advances into business processes. This industry generally leads the way with regards to technology, and stands to see the greatest incorporation of more AI and automation innovations especially over the next five years.

2. Finance and Banking

Do you remember the first time you went to your bank or credit union branch and spoke to a teller through a television screen, sending your documents back and forth through a pneumatic tube? Or how about the first time you deposited a check with your cell phone, or applied for a loan or credit card entirely online? If you haven’t yet done these things, you likely will soon. The world of finance and banking is continuously streamlining basic services like teller functions, check management, and other formerly paper-based processes.

3. Insurance

Long known for the importance of making interpersonal connections, the insurance industry stands to change quite a bit thanks to advances in AI and automation. Many of the functions of modern insurance agents do not need to be made in person or on the phone anymore. Like with many business processes today, it’s easy to receive a rate quote online, or to manage your account with an app on your smartphone. Expect even more of this over the next five years.

4. Manufacturing and Logistics

While as much as 50% of jobs in the manufacturing and logistics field could become obsolete in the next five years thanks to AI and automation, that is not cause for concern. The high degree of rote tasks that can be automated in greater and greater numbers mean that this industry will continue to innovate and force us all to rethink what is possible when it comes to technology. This will create opportunities for every employee to rethink their skillset and take steps to become more versatile. This also means there will be more opportunities for employees to take on more meaningful work.

5. Healthcare and Retail (tie)

Gone are the days of inefficient rolling walls full of paper files in the doctor’s office. By moving records online, doctor’s offices can now seamlessly and securely communicate with your pharmacy and the local hospital, and can share notes and test results with you via a secure online portal. Incredibly, there are studies to investigate using AI as part of the diagnostic process for common ailments. As for retail, the days of closing a store for 24 hours while staff works around the clock to record inventory once a year are soon to be forever in the past. Inventory is one of the easiest and most progressive ways to incorporate AI and automation into a business process.

These industries tend to have the largest overall businesses, which means they have the greatest need to streamline processes through automation. Since they already incorporate technology more than most, it’s only logical that they will continue moving forward toward utilizing AI and automation wherever possible in new and increasingly innovative ways. And it’s also only logical that you may wish to recession-proof your skillset to thrive as businesses continue to evolve.

How to Become Recession-Proof

It’s easy to expect businesses to wield the responsibility for recession-proofing their workforce. But, there are things that each individual can do to remain a valued employee, starting with staying informed. For example, you can read widely and stay on top of current events. The more you know about the types of changes that are already occurring, the easier it will be to adapt along with the labor force.

Your reading and personal research may then lead you to identify micro-credentials or badging opportunities. This information may help you know where to obtain new skills or strengthen existing ones. It could even lead to returning to school for a new degree or additional college-level coursework for retraining or diversifying skills within your current profession.

Many colleges and universities also have entire teams devoted to connecting students with workforce opportunities. Even if a new degree program is not the ideal solution, the career counseling office of one’s alma mater may have a workforce partnership program available.

It’s always a good idea for everyone to look toward developing broad skills and work experience. This helps prevent becoming over-specialized. After all, change is inevitable. When businesses adapt to changes in technology, businesses become stronger for the long term.

Download Preparing for the Machines - What HR Leaders Think About AI and Automation for more information about the top five industries likely to become (more) automated and what that might mean for you

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