by Umair Ahmed
Will automation destroy more jobs in comparison to the number of jobs it creates or will automation help create more US jobs in comparison to the number of US jobs it destroys? While this is a complex issue, evidence suggests that automation will eradicate a great percentage of low skill US jobs while also creating a greater percentage of higher - skilled US jobs.
Many studies have projected that automation will wipe away a significant portion of US jobs. For instance, a 2013 forecast conducted by the University of Oxford found that "... about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk" of being automated away by 2030. Muzzamil, an uber driver, expressed concern when asked about automation. “ As the breadwinner of my household, I am concerned about automation. As an Uber driver, I am afraid that self-driving cars will wipe out the rideshare industry and I’m not sure how I would put food on the table for my family if other jobs such as cashiers become automated.”
While studies project that automation will wipe away a significant portion of US jobs, these studies also project that there will be a great number of higher - skill jobs created. In a recent forecast published in October 2020 by the World Economic Forum, “...the organization said that the rise of machines and automation would eliminate a huge 85 million jobs by 2025. But at the same time, the WEF expects 97 million new jobs to be created, meaning an overall addition of 12 million jobs.”. Additionally, The World Economic Forum reported that automation will wipe out low skill jobs such as cashiers, payroll clerks, and factory workers while creating more high skill jobs such as data analysts, machine learning specialists and process automation specialists.
Similarly, Mike Wychoki, Chairman & CEO of EagleRail Container Logistics, has a positive view on automation. “ I think it is a 70/30 benefit. I think there is some downside to automation but I also think there is way more upside.”
While we can’t be 100% sure about how automation will affect the job industry, one thing is for certain. Earning a college degree reduces the chances of your job being automated away. “More than half of jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree are at risk of automation…”