Picture: 123RF / WARAKORN HARNPRASOP
Picture: 123RF / WARAKORN HARNPRASOP

If you are worried that they are starting the revolution without you‚ you might be right. It just depends what work you do‚ and how much you are prepared to adapt.

Before the clock strikes midnight to ring in 2030‚ about 200 new professions we have barely heard of will be in existence‚ or will be far more competitive than they are now.

At the same time‚ according to the international team of experts that worked on the Atlas of Emerging Jobs‚ about 57 professions will die out completely by 2030.

The National Science & Technology Forum‚ which is holding a three-day discussion forum at Cape Town Stadium‚ is looking at this topic: what are the implications of the fourth industrial revolution for industry‚ society and education? Working towards a career and employment are a major part of that.

The first industrial revolution brought water and steam power‚ which mechanised production. The second brought electric power‚ which enabled mass production‚ while the third introduced automated production through electronics and information technology (IT).

So now that we are heading into the fourth at breakneck speed‚ what are we looking at?

"More customised production‚ and a fusion of technologies that blurs the lines between the physical‚ digital‚ and biological spheres‚" say the organisers at the Cape Town discussion.

This revolution will bring many benefits‚ but it has also resulted in anxiety over job losses‚ and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) strategy manager Daniel Visser said the issue of skills went hand in hand with any discussion on the latest industrial revolution.

"A lot of upskilling is going to be needed‚ and you will still have to be a specialist within your sector but you will increasingly need to understand how your work affects other fields or disciplines‚ and vice versa‚" he said.

Some of the white-collar jobs most likely to fall away before 2030 include those of accountants‚ quantity surveyors‚ credit managers‚ statisticians and shorthand typists.

Also likely to disappear are estate agents‚ travel agents‚ tour guides‚ analysts‚ system administrators and control room operators.

Imagine also a world without copywriters‚ proofreaders‚ photo editors‚ journalists‚ lecturers‚ archivists and librarians‚ then add to that pharmacists‚ stunt performers‚ legal advisers‚ sports analysts and secretaries.

That is all according to the Atlas of Emerging Jobs.

Oxford University‚ which also studied which jobs were most likely to be automated by 2030‚ earmarked 12 out of 700 occupations that were facing automation the soonest. Some of these‚ all of which had a 99% chance of being automated‚ included data capturers‚ new accounts clerks‚ cargo agents‚ watch repairers‚ insurance underwriters‚ hand-sewers‚ telemarketers and tax preparers.

Umpires‚ legal secretaries and couriers also stood little chance of surviving.

At the other end of the scale‚ say the researchers‚ there are some jobs that have only a 0.35% chance or less of being automated because "many of them require a level of human interaction that may take many more years for computer programs to replicate".

Choreographers‚ psychologists‚ human resources managers‚ anthropologists‚ archaeologists‚ sales managers and CEOs are safe. Other sustainable jobs to be in or study towards include recreational therapists‚ audiologists‚ occupational therapists‚ healthcare social workers‚ orthotists and prosthetists‚ mental health and substance abuse social workers‚ emergency management directors, and first-line supervisors of mechanics‚ installers and repairers.

Please sign in or register to comment.