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How are you genuinely feeling today?  Enough about you, let’s talk about me.  I’m getting nervous about AI and what this means for people’s career paths.  

As AI continues to advance, many people are understandably nervous about how it might impact their careers. The situation is akin to watching a developing hurricane: we see it forming and gathering strength, but there’s still uncertainty about its exact impact when it makes landfall.

In this analogy, the AI storm is on the horizon. Some are taking immediate action by upskilling, some are getting prepared for the storm by staying informed, and many look like the old guy sitting on a rocker with straw between his teeth stating that under no circumstances is he leaving the area. In other words, many are being complacent – confident that their current positions will remain unaffected.  Historically, technological advancements have displaced some roles while creating others, but the shift to AI will likely be significantly more disruptive than any previous technological changes we’ve seen.

AI’s integration into various industries is expected to be significant. A McKinsey & Company report highlighted that by 2030, automation could take over tasks accounting for nearly 30% of the hours worked in the US economy.  To figure out which sectors would be impacted over the next 5-6 years, I consulted The Great Job Eliminator directly by asking the question in ChatGPT.  The list of sectors impacted included Finance, Transportation, Food Service, Retail, Manufacturing, Customer Service, Legal Services, Call Centers, and Administrative Services.  

In the next 6 years, 40%-50% of jobs may undergo significant transformation, with 35% of the workforce needing retraining or reskilling in the next 3 years. However, some sectors, like healthcare and STEM, are expected to grow, creating new opportunities.

People will eventually migrate to where there are jobs and security.  So if you are in healthcare, for instance, be prepared for a lot more people to be entering into your field.  Even if you are in a sector that will benefit from AI technology, your field may be changing in unexpected ways.   It may be positive for you, or it may be a downgrade from what you want to do.  Very few professions are well protected and safe from AI’s impact.  

I started this by writing that I’m getting nervous about what AI means for people’s career paths.  While I don’t want to be an alarmist, I wonder if people are being proactive enough given the impending business shifts.  I think we need to have more conversations about AI and how it will impact our careers.  I think we will all be better served to prepare for the storm than to assume that it won’t affect us.  

Here are a few key immediate thoughts and suggestions for engaging your peers on this topic:

  • Stay Informed: Research how AI is impacting your sector. Stay updated on trends and forecasts to anticipate changes.
  • Take Inventory: Assess your current skill set and interests. Identify any gaps between your current skills and those required for future roles.
  • Invest in Skills: Consider taking courses, earning certifications, or pursuing new degrees that align with industry trends and your career goals.
  • Adaptability: Be agile and ready to pivot as the job market evolves. Flexibility will be key to navigating the changes AI brings.

The looming AI storm may bring significant changes to the job market, but with preparation and adaptability, you may be able to successfully navigate these changes. By staying informed, investing in your skills, and maintaining a flexible mindset, you can position yourself to be relevant, or even thrive, in the AI-driven future.  If you are currently on a rocker, now may be the time to get up and start preparing.

Hire Thought   It’s always good practice to reflect on your current career situation and assess what, if any, changes need to be made moving forward.  With most businesses looking to incorporate AI in order to increase productivity while reducing costs, now may be an ideal time for further reflection on your career.  What additional skills will you need in the future?  What parts of your role will be automated?  Where will opportunities emerge in your field where you are positioned to fill?  Embracing change can turn potential challenges into opportunities for growth and success.

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