These Are the Jobs That Will Survive the Next Wave of Automation

Every time our country enters a recession, it seems like another piece of the middle class is eroded away, and never returns. There are widespread layoffs and pay cuts, but when the economy recovers, we don’t have as many well-paying jobs as we had before. There are probably multiple reasons for this, most notably the outsourcing of jobs. However, there’s one reason that most people don’t want to consider because there’s no one to blame for it.

Many jobs don’t come back after a recession, because of automation. When money is tight during a recession, there’s more incentive for companies to automate parts of their workforce. Every economic calamity sows the seeds for a new wave of computer automation and labor-saving inventions; and after the recession has passed, a certain percentage of the population gets left behind. For whatever reason, they fail to learn new skills that will help them adapt to the new economy, so they are either left jobless or are stuck working low paying jobs that may not survive the next recession.

And make no mistake, this is going to keep happening at a rapid pace for at least the next generation or two. By some estimates, half of the jobs we have now may be automated over the next few decades, and it’s not exactly clear how many of those jobs will be replaced.

There’s only one thing you can do to guarantee that you’ll thrive in this future. You have to learn skills that can’t be automated. And when you look at the kinds of careers that are difficult to automate, you’ll find that most of them fall into a handful of categories.

Advanced STEM Careers

These are the biologists, the physicists, the statisticians, the engineers, etc. Just about anyone who attains anything higher than a bachelor’s degree in a STEM related field, is probably going to have a job for the foreseeable future. Though computers will certainly have some impact on these fields, the people who are in them are among the smartest in the world. Unless someone builds a computer that is more intelligent than any human (which isn’t guaranteed), these jobs aren’t going anywhere.

Careers That Guide Automation

If you can’t beat em, you can always join em. One of the best ways insulate yourself from automation, is to find a job that involves creating, running, or maintaining the machines. Think mechanics, computer programmers, and mechanical engineers. While the smartest people in our society are going to occupy the advanced STEM fields, the average Joe’s are going to dominate these jobs, because they don’t require nearly as much education. These are jobs that usually either require a 4-year degree or lengthy on-the-job training. They will probably be the last bastion of high-paying middle-class jobs.

Careers That Revolve Around Human Behavior

One of the biggest obstacles for a computer is interpreting human behavior, and making use of that information. Computers are really just glorified calculators, so despite how advanced they’ve become, they’re about as good at comprehending humans as we are at comprehending God.

So any job that involves sophisticated interaction with humans is probably safe from automation. And fortunately, there are a ton of jobs like this. It includes doctors, nurses, teachers, physical and mental therapists, salesman and marketers, public relations experts, clergymen, etc. Wherever there are people with uniquely human problems and aspirations, there are jobs that a computer can’t touch.

Craftsmen and Artisans

I’m using these terms loosely to describe more than just people who make products with their hands. What I’m about to describe is a unique category of jobs that survive every labor-saving invention, long after they’ve been technically rendered obsolete.

Think about everyone who runs a successful store on Etsy. Most of the stuff they sell aren’t crucial to the modern economy, but there’s still a demand for them. People don’t need highly ornate, handcrafted products. They could probably buy a far cheaper equivalent on Amazon, but they choose to buy handcrafted products because they’re special. Things that come off of an assembly line are practical, but humans have a need for products and services that have a human touch. We have a love of things that are well crafted, but imperfect. And since automation tends to introduce more wealth into society, there will be more demand for these luxuries.

And like I said, it’s not just jobs that involve making things. Any field that can be automated, will have a few holdouts that never die. How much do you want to bet that many years after driverless cars eliminate all of the truck drivers, cab drivers, and delivery jobs, there will still be people you can pay to drive you around town. If you don’t believe me, then consider the companies that still offer horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City, a century after cars made these carriages obsolete.

There is only one caveat with these kinds of jobs. If you decide to enter an obsolete field, you have to be the best at it. The only people who make money with these jobs are the people who offer the highest quality products and services. The runner-ups make a pittance, and everyone else is taking a loss. But if you do put in the effort to be among the best, you can make a lot of money in these jobs.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 30th, 2017
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  • Linda Lee

    This article is incomplete.

    • David Vickers

      Your comment is incomplete

  • unreconstructed

    My wife used to sale on Etsy. She had problems with Etsy sending her the money for her sales. When someone whom she knew bought one of her products, Etsy never sent her any money until after she contacted Etsy months later. How much she sold that she did know was sold for which Etsy did not send her the money is unknown.

  • Jackson

    What about plumbers,electricians, heating and air conditioning,roofers,concrete/cement workers, bricklayers the list goes on and on? I would like to see them automate that.

  • Nailbanger

    Thankfully im in that last category,, no way in hell a robot can do the stuff i do

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