It sounds like a scene from a science fiction move, however its happening right before our eyes. 65 Percent of Today’s Students Will Be Employed in Jobs That Don’t Exist Yet. Fast forward 10 years into the future. It’s 2026 and a whole spate of new graduates are taking their first tentative steps into the working world. A world that looks completely different to the one we know today.
There is no doubt that some of the most powerful 21st century technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence, which are able to perform high-level, cognitively complicated tasks, may render certain jobs obsolete. Replacing human workers with technology is simply more productive and efficient.
In South Africa, commercial banks are leading the charge in rapid digitalization of their operations, which is leading to higher profits, however unfortunately at the cost of jobs. Technology has already eradicated many jobs. For example, the elevator operator, pinsetter, copy boy, iceman, milkman, switchboard operator, typist, telegraph operator, and now most recently, bank tellers – all jobs that are almost extinct. The list is growing longer day by day.
Both educators and businesses have a daunting task ahead of them: teach students and employees skills to solve problems we’ve never seen before and won’t see for years.
Many other jobs may stick around for a while but expectations and qualifications will evolve. Consider the librarian. Digitization and the Internet require less of a need for a person to be physically present. But research of a vast collection of resources and information is daunting for many people. The librarian of the past was an expert with the Dewey Decimal System. The new librarian will be a digital archivist, savvy with searches, keywords and helpful websites.
Stock brokers and accountants beware too. A stock broker used to be the go-to person to handle all of your investments. Today the order-take stock broker is a dinosaur. The same goes for the tax-preparing accountant. Software and off-shoring has made preparation and filing tax forms easy. Consumers and businesses will retain accountants to offer them business and financial advice, not fill and file forms.
Of course nobody can predict the future, the best approach would be to constantly stay abreast of new developments by upskilling yourself to remain relevant, being flexible and adaptable to change, and staying away from jobs and industries that are in danger of becoming null and void as a result of technology