Artificial intelligence and automation are infiltrating our daily working lives – and office workers are among those whose jobs are being taken over by machines.
- Analysts have found that the jobs facing the fastest automation include retail workers, accountants and receptionists
- Many automated jobs are female-dominated
- Workers are encouraged to improve
That’s according to new research provided to ABC News by an Australian education organization that urges people to upskill so they don’t end up unemployed.
Pearson’s research focuses on roles likely to be automated as technology advances.
Historically, much of the automation conversation has focused on robots taking over factory jobs, or even replacing retail assistants in the form of self-service checkouts in supermarkets.
Pearson’s data also shows the less obvious pictures of automation encroaching on office environments, including for medical receptionists, accountants and personal assistants.
“Some of the major (jobs) most impacted by technology are things like receptionists, waiters, bank workers, retail salespeople,” according to Sandya Baratha Raj, director of data science at Pearson.
“And what’s interesting is that a lot of those roles are more likely to be dominated by women.
“Women are more likely to be negatively impacted by technology than men.”
Take the work of a translator. Ten years ago, many Polaron national service employees worked manually for customers by listening to or reading languages and translating them into text and voice.
There is now a plethora of software, including voice recognition, that does the groundwork for their work. Many people have used a form of it in Google Translate.
“I think a lot of translators will become proofreaders,” Polaron projector coordinator Tristan Priolo told ABC News.
“They will be controllers, as opposed to translators.”
Seventy percent of Polaron’s translators are women. Some are older women who are less tech savvy and able to keep up with the rapid technological advancements in the industry.
“Unfortunately, many of our (translators) fall behind because they are unable to keep up or have not chosen to keep up,” Ms Priolo said.
“The industry is competitive. And they can’t necessarily make as much money from proofreading as from translation.
“But that being said, they could do a lot more.”
Pearson’s analysis found that by 2032, more than 10% of the work currently done by translators will be automated, and many will be in female-dominated industries.
Ms. Priolo herself speaks Spanish and Italian. She has a university education in translation but is afraid to specialize.
“I wish I could do this (work). But I’m afraid there’s no stability,” she said.
This all comes as the Federal Government hosts a jobs summit on the future of Australia’s workforce.
Data previously reported by ABC News revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) technology is expected to replace up to half of the work done today by 2030.
It’s that roles once considered too creative to be consumed by AI — like illustration to songwriting — are also under threat from rapid technological advancements.
Workers fear they have not been properly trained in digital advancements
New survey results also shared with ABC News by industry body CPA Australia, a local professional association for accountants, revealed that one in two workers do not believe they are trained in digital advancements.
Data from Pearson revealed that 13% of an accountant’s current work will have been automated by 2027.
The accounting work will be even more important, 20% automated during these five years.
This is when artificial intelligence and software are deployed to do everything from statutory declarations to complex receiverships.
Even the people creating the deployed software notice that it changes their work.
CPA Australia thinks automation is not really a threat to job numbers. His view is that the trend frees up accountants to do more complex work.
“Technology has automated manual and repetitive accounting tasks,” said CPA Australia spokeswoman Dr Jane Rennie.
“It allowed professionals to do more strategic and creative work.”
Vaibhav Namburi is the founder and CEO of emerging tech agency Five2One. His Sydney-based startup is working on AI that’s being used by fintech companies to help them approve home and car loans.
“It was work that used to be done by an analyst, or an underwriter or someone internally within the company that has now become completely automated,” he said.
His company also designs software that can scour the Internet for publicly available personal information and then create personalized marketing messages.
“We’re basically scouring the internet to find data points about someone and create a personalized post that feels like you’ve actually spent hours researching them.” said Mr. Namburi.
“And it actually takes maybe a second or two. It’s done by a machine.”
Again, this is work that could have been done before by editors.
Mr. Namburi himself has reduced roles in his company in this space, as artificial intelligence learns to play its role.
“We used to have six blog editors. That (has) now gone down to three,” he said.
“And these three are basically managing the work of six people, as their work has shifted from handwriting to using AI to create content.”
“I don’t want you to worry about your job. But it’s definitely something you need to optimize for.”
Pearson data scientist Sandya Baratha Raj also urges people working in automated industries to upskill.
“It’s about being able to be proactive and understanding how we can use (our data) to make sure people have the right skills for the future,” she said.
Loading the form…