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We all knew this day would be coming. A recent research was conducted by the Ball State University in the US, which has indicated that nearly half of all low-skill jobs in the USA are at risk of being offshored or replaced by automation in the next few years. Additionally, this has the potential to displace millions of American workers.

The researchers profiled specific regional communities that have experienced negative economic cycles since the end of the recession. The research also found that job growth has been disproportionate and limited to a small number of metropolitan areas.

Areas at the highest risk for off-shoring and automation include the Aleutians East Borough of Alaska. Topping the list for Job displacement due to automation was seen in rural Mississippi, Virginia, Indiana, Georgia, North and South Carolina (find more on page 7 of the study).

In the USA, a large share of the labor workforce is made up of unskilled and under-educated talent. These low skill jobs include jobs in food preparation and serving, cashiers, farm workers, attendants and home aides. According to the most recent U.S. Census report, only 33% of Americans age 25 or older report having completed a bachelor’s degree or above, which is up from just 28% a decade ago. This means that employers really do have to start focussing on training their employees. 

Some areas at risk are also clearly having racial and gender divides, as some job prospects may be limited by location or otherwise segmented as “pink collar” jobs held mostly by women.

Now the current President Trump’s campaign promised to improve job prospects via apprenticeships but we have yet to see how this works out. These programs may help make a difference in industries like construction, manufacturing, retail and hospitality jobs.

Incidentally, a study conducted by job portal Indeed states that jobs in Human Resources and similar fields will be mostly safe from automation. While finding the right candidate for the job is becoming increasingly reliant on data and automated screening in some professions, the soft skills of an HR that a person brings to the table are still valuable. Emotional intelligence and the ability to read people will always be important in this sector, which no automation or robot will be able to do anytime soon.


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