With each passing year, parents are getting more worried about how their children will fare once it’s time to take that step from school to the workforce.
They have good reason to fret. Some 17 million Americans under age 30—about one third of the under-30 population—are saddled with student debt. Many are worried about their career prospects despite having invested—heavily, in some cases—in education.
The cost of college is being hotly debated. But it’s only one aspect of an even bigger issue: The automation of many entry-level roles will make it even harder for young people to gain traction in the working world.
The road from education to employment is full of more disconnects than ever. Research from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that workers from ages 18 to 34 hold almost 40%—or 14.7 million—of the US jobs that could disappear due to automation in the next decade. This creates a challenge for young people, both for those trying to make a living in the service sector and for college graduates aiming to get onto the professional track.
Two-thirds of the job losses for young people could occur in food, hospitality, or retail. These industries provide a crucial opportunity for more than 30 million Americans overall to bring home a paycheck—and workers under 34 years old make up half or more of the nation’s wait staff, hotel receptionists, and fast food workers. These types of roles build valuable soft skills like communication, punctuality, and customer service, and they also provide that all-important first line on a resume that can propel people onward and upward. The gig economy has created some alternative options such as driving and delivery, but those types of on-demand services are scarce outside of urban areas.
One-third of the automation-related job losses for young people could occur in white-collar jobs, including entry-level roles in accounting, finance, human resources, and administration. In the legal profession, for example, AI can handle document review and case law search—not a favorite task for junior attorneys, perhaps, but one that provides valuable immersion and learning. Actuaries have traditionally spent their early years crunching numbers to assess risk. Now AI is outperforming humans at these tasks.
This means aspiring young professionals will need to enter the labor force in higher-level roles. But employers have been saying for years that too many new hires, even those with college degrees, are not work-ready.
The jobs of the future will demand even more in the way of digital.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Robots are already outperforming humans at entry level tasks — Quartz