Jul 15, 2019 - Technology
The threat to the $100,000-a-year tech worker
Much of the discussion around the future of work focuses on what is already disappearing: jobs in factories, on farms, and in restaurants.
But coming automation-fueled job losses and changes will reverberate far beyond — and eventually reach seemingly safe workers in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street.
- And those in-demand workers may not be prepared for what's coming, as the bulk of government and company reskilling efforts are targeted toward the lower end.
What's happening: A number of companies are trying to prep their high-skilled workers for the future. Google for instance has put a third of its engineering workforce through AI training, and Amazon's new $700 million upskilling effort will target its Seattle workers as well as warehouse employees.
- "Some of the top firms are realizing that a lot of their folks who are making six figures are in the bullseye," says Erik Brynjolfsson, director of MIT's Initiative on the Digital Economy.
The big picture: But the impact may be larger than the response thus far.
- Per a recent report from Brookings, around 40% of the tasks done by computer programmers and web developers are susceptible to automation. For information security analysts, the number is 65%. For computer network architects, it's 52%.
- Jobs outside of tech, like radiologists, financial analysts and lawyers, are also at risk.
- "Everyone is going to have to learn new skills — even the most sophisticated technologists themselves," says Susan Lund of the McKinsey Global Institute.
Go deeper: The future began four decades ago