Jul 15, 2019

The threat to the $100,000-a-year tech worker

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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

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Amazon is positioned to save America from automation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As automation gnaws at the economy, Fortune 500 companies have come out with training programs to prepare their workers for a future in which their jobs change significantly — or cease to exist at all.

Why it matters: Alongside those programs, a for-profit, training-as-a-service industry is emerging — firms that will come into your company and train everyone for you. Amazon, with its troves of data and cash, may be best positioned to dominate this new reskilling-in-a-box business.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019

The growth of U.S. tech job listings has slowed

Data: Cognizant; Chart: Axios Visuals

While U.S. companies continue to vigorously seek new workers, growth in openings for some hard-core digitalized jobs — projected to be among the most prominent work in the future economy — have sharply slowed, according to a new report.

Quick take: The reported weakening in hiring may reflect the general U.S. economic slowdown. But, amid a 50-year low in joblessness, it also highlights the extraordinary volatility in the technology industry, the most reliably vibrant part of the U.S. economy.

Go deeperArrowJul 25, 2019

Automation in mobility is outpacing skills re-training programs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The shift towards automation in transportation and mobility is expected to eliminate jobs, but it could also create opportunities, like training the artificial intelligence that powers machines.

The big picture: Members of the workforce who will be impacted need to be trained in the key areas of data literacy, higher cognition decision making and emotional skills — but currently there are few organizations providing that training.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019