Automation and its risk for early careers

Hospitality, retail, digital transformation...

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We all know that automation is on the rise. With it affecting big industries such as retail and hospitality in a big way, those at the beginning of the career may be the most at risk.

The route to job security may not be the traditional one with the world in a strange state of limbo now. Apprenticeships and slight tweaks in your career plan may be all you need to bag a job that’s safe from automation.

Automation in Retail and Hospitality

Retail and hospitality are thought to be the two industries to be most affected by automation. School leavers and those starting out in their career who want to work in these industries might have to re-think the job they wish to pursue.
 
Although automation will undoubtedly affect jobs in these sectors, that’s not to say that a career is doomed. We still need face-to-face employees, but the number and roles may change.
 
The more creative roles in the fashion industry such as pattern makers, designers, photographers and editors seem to have a much lower chance of losing their jobs to automation compared to sales advisors, shop mangers and personal shoppers. Online shopping is changing the landscape of fashion and shopping. We can see this in online fashion giants such as Boohoo and ASOS buying out high street favourites.
 
For hospitality, automation is taking over jobs such as dish-washing or taking orders. But many restaurants and hotels will still rely on experienced employees to be front facing customers.
 

Apprenticeship or degree?

In past, getting a university degree was a sure-fire way to ensure you had a stable career. But now, with more and more people going to university, this might not be the case. More organisations than ever before are now offering apprenticeship schemes. And employers are regarding this as a viable alternative to a university degree. Apprenticeships are valued for their real-life work experience.
 
The benefits of apprenticeships over university degrees are plentiful for school leavers. No fees to pay, earning while learning and a chance of a job at the end can make it tempting.
 

How employers can help prevent people losing jobs to automation

It shouldn’t just be down to the individual to secure an apprentice or come up with a new career plan. Employers should recognise that traditional jobs and career paths are changing dramatically. They should offer those in the early stages of their career, some options to safeguard their roles.
 
Mathew Metcalfe, senior talent acquisition manager at Covea Insurance said: “Automation offers significant benefits to businesses and consumers. However, it’s essential to address the inevitable challenges this creates, particularly in early careers. Over the next few years it’s likely many roles will fundamentally change, and we’ll see many new roles emerging that require a different skill set.
 
Employers need to recognise these challenges today and create mechanisms to support the personal growth of their people. For example, at Covéa Insurance, we’ve launched a coding club, so that any of our employees can develop software engineering skills, creating a pathway into our digital operation.
 
Digital skills are increasingly in high demand and it is vital that we embed these skills in the curriculum. Enabling young people to obtain the necessary training and skills to help them succeed in the changing workplace.”