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Worried About Technology Replacing Jobs?

Gayle Petrillo August 2023

Career Kuel Thought Leader: Gayle Petrillo

Worried that technology will replace you or cause you harm?

Fear Of Technology:

When colleagues talk about technology, is your response positive or negative?

Many people still have a fear of technology. They worry because they hold the belief that it provides an excuse for employers to replace, downsize or otherwise change the workforce, incorporating a broad infusion of robots.

“Technology also has become much more of a necessity in recent years in just about every working arena.”

Technology has and will continue to, replace certain tasks and workers. Technology also has become much more of a necessity in recent years in just about every working arena. Take, for instance, the number of people working remotely since the pandemic.

Therefore, understanding and adapting technology is key to a successful business. Both on the employee and employer side, regardless of who you are, what you do, and how you work.

Creating Opportunities For Job Seekers:

In a recent article in Financesonline, the author acknowledges that many jobs can and will be replaced by technology. That said, it’s important to note there will always be positions and/or parts of those positions, that will never be able to be replaced.

And, in fact, technology actually is creating opportunities for job seekers to earn money in different ways. This includes IT systems management, app creation, hardware manufacturing and IT development – among others.

Within the article, this quote caught my eye, “For instance, for the past 15 years, the Internet had erased around 500,000 jobs in France (alone). But in the same period, the Internet had generated 1.2 million new jobs! That’s a net creation of 2.4 new jobs for each one wiped out. For those of us in the US and/or global workers, the expanding use of technology in business will push the need for more data analysts and statisticians. In the US, this will mean a shortage of around 250,000 data scientists.”

The Technology Portions Of The Job:

So, what does that mean for you and me?

As individuals, we want to have an awareness of, and implement, current technology where possible and probable. We might want to be more open to alternative work setups including hardware, software and physical workspace.

To further elaborate on the skills that technology cannot replace, let’s focus for a minute on soft skills. Listening to understand, punctuality, problem-solving, work ethic, team building, creativity, and effective and proper communications are all skills still required. AI and automation cannot replace these. Generally speaking, these soft skills are either not taught at all or are a rarity. High schools, colleges, and universities focus on instructing hard skills like STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills.

“Hard skills can be taught while soft skills are assumed to be more innate in nature.”

That said, employers, as my clients are experiencing first hand, recruiters and hiring executives are not only asking how the candidate will learn the technological portions of the job. They are also very focused on the soft skills required to be successful in their role. Hard skills can be taught while soft skills are assumed to be more innate in nature.

Spotting Adverse Postings:

Not entirely new, but never the less important, is to understand that social media is playing a large part in the interview process. Not on any social media platforms? This may be seen negatively by some; just as spotting adverse postings can cause you from landing or retaining your job. Your social media presence should always be professional and not just on typical professional sites such as LinkedIn. Include Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram, etc. Your photos should be of a professional nature as well.

Surveys continue to find 70% of employers go to candidates’ social media during the screening process. And, around 43% of businesses use social media to check on current employees; 34% have reprimanded or fired an employee because of adverse social media posts.

You should anticipate employers will check your social media profiles. Therefore, remember that perception is reality and be cognizant that you may be overlooked because of something you posted, or you may be asked to defend it. Employers are concerned about their public persona and reputation and they are not likely to look kindly on current or prospective employees who may, in their perception, tarnish it.

On the other hand, don’t delete your profiles because a consequence of that may be that an employer’s connotation is that social media absence is negative. My parting word on this is to tread lightly and think before reacting to an impulse to react to a post.

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About the Author:

Gayle Petrillo is President of First Impressions, Image Consulting. Gayle is an image consultant working with both businesses and individuals. Her services include: customer service training; team building skills; secret shopper services; gossip avoidance techniques; closet analysis; wardrobe transformations, personal shopping; employment coaching; and presentation skills.