Jobs that have a predictable routine and repetitive tasks are at the highest risk of being filled by robots—and nearly 50% of Millennials want to pursue these jobs, according to a report by Daniel Culbertson, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab.
To conduct the study, Culbertson analyzed how the average 200 million unique monthly visitors to Indeed.com spent their time on the site. He categorized six months' worth of job searches and user clicks into four groups:
- Routine, manual jobs;
- Routine, skilled jobs;
- Non-routine, manual jobs; and
- Non-routine, skilled jobs.
Culbertson also looked at data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis about employment levels for each type of job over time.
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Overall, Culbertson found that roughly half of Millennials (49.8%) showed interest in routine jobs—a slightly larger share than Gen Xers and a slightly smaller share than baby boomers. But, he warns, routine jobs are at the highest risk for automation and employment in these fields is no longer growing.
Millennials avoided manual, routine work. While 20% of baby boomers showed interest in these jobs, just 15.7% of Millennials clicked on them.
But Millennials were less wary of routine, skilled jobs, such as sales and administrative roles. About 34.3% of Millennials expressed interest in these roles, more than both baby boomers and Gen Xers.
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However, nearly every job includes some tasks that will probably be automated within a few decades, according to Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute. "Roughly all of us will have automation affect what we do at work," Chui says. "Even if our job doesn't go away, pieces of our job will be automated."
As such, Chui encourages young people to pursue whatever careers they're interested in, so long as they're aware that the responsibilities of the job may change, and workers may need to update their skills from time to time.
"Workers can prepare themselves by building up transferable, non-routine skills that can be applied to a wide array of occupations," advises the Indeed report (Bolden-Barrett, HR Dive, 5/4; Paquette, Washington Post, 5/1).
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