The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) and what it means for students like you –

by StudyMalaysia on May 2, 2018 | Top Stories, Career Guide

From self-driving cars to drone-delivered online shopping, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and communicate. But with more and more jobs being taken over by artificial intelligence, what do students today need to do to stay relevant for future job markets?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) is expected to change how we live, work, and communicate; it is also likely to change the things we value and the way we value them in the future. Presently, we can already see changing business models and employment trends.

According to The World Economic Forum, an estimated 65% of kids enrolling in primary education today will end up working in jobs that haven’t been created yet.

Automation and artificial intelligence are change agents in 4IR that will make certain groups of employees redundant, replacing them with new workers with the needed skills or with machines that do the job cheaper. Gone are the days where students go to college or university to study for a degree that will set them up with a job for life.

With technological advances, jobs with these three qualities are most likely to be automated:

  • repetitive
  • based on rules
  • involve limited or well-defined physicality

Trends of the future: 2025 and beyond

  • 10% of people will be wearing clothes connected to the internet
  • 80% will have unlimited (sponsored) backup space in the cloud
  • There will be one trillion sensors connected to the internet
  • 80% of the world’s population will have Internet presence
  • The first automobile entirely produced with a 3D printer
  • 90% of world’s population will own a smart phone
  • 90% of world’s population will have internet access
  • 10% of all vehicles on the roads will be driverless
  • More than 50% of home appliances will be connected to internet
  • More rides will be made on shared cars than on private cars

Source: World Economic Forum 2015

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some jobs that have a 95% or higher probability of being automated:

  • Cashiers
  • Office clerks, general
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants
  • Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks
  • Cooks, restaurants
  • Team assemblers
  • Receptionists and information clerks
  • Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
  • Shipping, receiving and traffic clerks
  • Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers
  • Counter attendants, cafeteria/food concession
  • Tellers
  • Billing and posting clerks
  • Counter and rental clerks
  • Driver/Sales workers
  • Foodservice hosts and hostesses
  • Packaging/Filling machine operators
  • Operating engineers and equipment operators
  • Bill and account collectors
  • Loan officers
  • Insurance claims and policy processing clerks
  • Claims adjusters, examiners and investigators
  • Parts salespersons
  • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
  • Telemarketers
  • Dispatchers
  • Data entry keyers
  • Legal secretaries
  • Order clerks
  • Payroll and timekeeping clerks
  • Molding/Coremaking/Casting machine operators
  • Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers
  • Library assistants and technicians
  • Switchboard operators

A 2013 research by Oxford University showed that out of around 700 occupations, 12 were found to have a 99 per cent chance of being automated in the future:

  • Data entry keyers
  • Library technicians
  • New accounts clerks
  • Photographic process workers and processing machine operators
  • Tax preparers
  • Cargo and freight agents
  • Watch repairers
  • Insurance underwriters
  • Mathematical technicians
  • Sewers, hand
  • Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers
  • Telemarketers

Do you see the trend here? So if jobs that are repetitive and which involve limited physicality are most likely to be taken over by robots, which type of jobs will continue to be in demand in the world of 4IR? According to Graham Brown-Martin, there are three key areas where humans beat machines that are key to future job creation:

  • creative endeavours-everything from scientific discovery to creative writing and entrepreneurship
  • social interaction-robots just don’t have the kind of emotional intelligence that humans do
  • physical dexterity and mobility-millennia of hiking mountains, swimming lakes and dancing practice gives humans extraordinary agility and physical dexterity

5 things to consider when choosing your career

Do you want to choose a career that minimises your risk of being replaced by a robot? Here are five things to think about:

  1. Study data science and/or get a job in data
  2. Choose a job that robots still can’t do well – focus on jobs that require skills like creativity, problem solving and connecting with people on a human level
  3. Keep in touch with the job market to get an insight of which jobs are in demand and its average salary
  4. Be data savvy – learn how to use data to make decisions and solve problems
  5. Get familiar with artificial intelligence

Source: 5 simple tips to help you survive the 4th industrial revolution

The same study by Oxford University lists eight occupations that are least likely to be computerised based on current technology:

  • Recreational therapists
  • First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
  • Emergency management directors
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers
  • Audiologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Orthotists and prosthetists
  • Healthcare social workers
  • First-line supervisors of fire-fighting and prevention workers
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • Lodging managers
  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Choreographers
  • Sales engineers
  • Instructional coordinators
  • Physicians and surgeons
  • Psychologists
  • Elementary school teachers, except special education
  • General dentists
  • First-line supervisors of police and detectives

In a nutshell, 46.4% of jobs in manufacturing, 32.3% in finance and 44% in wholesale and retail are forecast to be lost by the early 2030s. Less affected will be human health and social work, which are expected to affect less than a fifth of jobs.

Would you like to find out if your choice of career has a high probability of being automated? Click here and type your occupation to see what researchers think is the probability of your job being automated.

Related article

Whether you’re planning a change in your profession or simply starting out in your career, you may want to consider jobs that employers are desperate to fill. Check out the Critical Occupations List 2017/2018 before you make your next career decision.


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