Automation has become an increasingly disruptive force in the labour market.
Reports of robots taking over jobs everywhere from self-driving cars to advisers at wealth management firms stoke employee fears that their jobs will soon disappear.
It’s a worry that Cathy Engelbert, CEO at Deloitte, even hears from her 15-year-old son. “Mum, are robots going to take my job someday?” Engelbert recalled being questioned by her son in a post on LinkedIn.
“I told him: ‘Don’t worry — I’ve never met a machine with courage and empathy,'” she continued.
Engelbert’s response is likely heartening to the hundreds of thousands of Deloitte employees worldwide. Accounting and auditing work — Deloitte’s bread and butter — are among the jobs that have been flagged as highly susceptible to automation.
And elsewhere, respected figures in the business community, like billionaire investor Mark Cuban, warn that jobs in the engineering, programming, and finance fields are highly at risk.
But to this, Engelbert urges employees to realise that automation doesn’t mean jobs for humans will disappear, just that they will evolve.
“Tasks that are highly manual, routine, and predictable will be automated,” she wrote. “But jobs are made up of many tasks. So the nature of existing jobs will change, and new careers will be created.”
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