Indian Campus

That human touch: a look at a few careers that are future-proof

With the threat of automation looming large over several industries, here are a few careers that are future-proof

In 2017, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released a report, ‘Jobs and The Fourth Industrial Revolution’. This report predicted a future where 47% of the jobs that we currently do may be automated!

Cognitive computing technologies such as deep learning and deep neural networks are going to be major drivers of the process of automation. Machine learning — the most powerful and disruptive branch of artificial intelligence — will enable machines to read data and imitate some of the jobs that humans can do. In this context, only jobs that have a high demand for an ability to tackle novel situations are the ones that we, the humans, can do better than machines.

In demand

With this view in mind, here are my pick of top five jobs that will be in demand despite automation in the years to come:

Data analysts: They will be in demand across all industries and functions. The focus will be to hire data analysts who can significantly enhance productivity by seeing patterns in the data and developing better way of doing things. This means every department from HR, sales to manufacturing will need a data analyst. Industries like insurance and banking especially will need more data analysts to guide the sales team.

Culture and productivity managers: They are the new avatar of the current human resource professionals. Companies today must grapple with managing multiple generations of workforce and wider diversity. More people will work from home, and many will use advanced mobile technology to execute their work. The new role of HR managers will be to manage this interplay of culture, technology and resources to ensure productivity. People issues will need to be dealt with sensitively. Today, HR has a more transactional role but soon, HR managers will be made completely accountable for building a technology-enabled culture.

Digital media experts: India is one of the single largest markets for consumer products and services. Till date, a sales professional’s role involved finding customers and selling to them. In the new digital world, one of the biggest change is going to be the shift from selling to “informed buying”. E-commerce is a good example. People go online, search, compare and make their purchase decisions. Hence, we will need people who will enable a buying decision and thus, convert the sale. Digital marketers will be required to build buyer communities, provide comparative data, share information on the risk of buying, seek referrals from happy customers and more, thus, helping customers make informed choices.

 

Computer-aided manufacturing: One of the biggest challenges in manufacturing today is the speed at which manufacturing processes change. In other words, you have a production line and if the demand pattern has changed, you will have to change the production processes as well, and soon. This is ushering in agile production systems in manufacturing. This will require computer-aided design and professionals who can execute it.

Mobile-based and preventive customer services: Customer service is increasingly becoming mobile-based. Today, customer service is reactive, and it will soon become pro-active based on predictive scenarios. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will proactively analyse past data and throw up probable breakdown scenarios, based on which companies will need to offer preventive solutions before the actual breakdowns occur. All these changes will drive the demand for a new set of data-driven persuasive customer service agents.