I have been reading and hearing concerns by the government that people must upgrade themselves otherwise they will be replaced. One of the concern is that many jobs are going to be replaced by technology. In recent years, technology has improved to level that it is also able to do cognitive tasks instead of just the mundane tasks. Since having a proper job is absolutely necessary in a proper financial plan, I have compile a list of jobs that are at risk and jobs that are of low risk of being replaced by computerisation. The list is based on this paper:
Below is the list of common occupations I extracted from the paper:
|Occupation||Probability of computerisation|
|Accountants and Auditors||94%|
|Insurance sales agents||92%|
|Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs||89%|
|Real estate sales agents||86%|
|Personal Financial Advisors||58%|
|Designers (Graphic, Exhibit, Fashion, Interior, Industrial or Floral)||<= 8.2%|
|Social Workers||<= 2.8%|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||1.5%|
|Physicians and surgeons||0.42%|
Most jobs in the finance sector are going to be replaced
If you look at the list, many of the jobs that are going to be affected are from the finance industry.
At the top of the list that has the highest probability of being computerised is telemarketers. Telemarketers are heavily used in the finance sector. I am not surprised this job is going to be redundant. Telemarketing is an obsolete form of marketing with very poor ROI (return on investments). What has replaced telemarketing are automated marketing. I use automated marketing a lot. Based on 2016 expenses, the money I spent on automated marketing was 1/24 of the cost to hire a telemarketer. The good thing about automated marketing is that it is always working for me regardless whether it is a Sunday or public holiday. Moreover, I do not need to pay CPF contributions to hire a robot. My robot even filter our suspects and provide leads that are 100% genuine. My ‘closing rate’ is close to 100% because my robot filters out unwanted shoppers.
At the top of the list is also insurance underwriters. One insurer in Singapore has started to provide software to selected financial advisers to use to underwrite cases on the spot. This means insurance policies can be approved or rejected at the point of purchase. There is no longer a need to wait for an underwriter to take a look at the proposal. The underwriting job is going under (no pun intended).
Insurance claims are also being replaced. The most commonly cited robot for insurance claim is IBM’s Watson. Watson is an artificial intelligent supercomputer used by Fukoku Life Insurance Mutual Company to process claims. 34 humans were fired as a result. And I wonder whether has Watson become self-aware. This is really creepy!
Interestingly, computer programmers have 48% of being computerised. Does this means computer software can write its own code?
Banking related jobs are not spared. Loan officers, Credit Analysts and Accountants and Auditors are all going to the graveyard.
Sales related jobs like insurance sales agents, retail salespersons, real estate sales persons are going to be gone tomorrow too. How can this be? The reason why these positions are going to be gone is because these jobs are highly transactional. The focus is on the products and not the customers. Transactions are best handled by software such as online portals. These days, very few use the services of real estate agents due to availability of online portals. Many buys online from qoo10, Lazada etc to do their shopping. See also What's keeping shoppers away from retail malls in Singapore? As for life insurance, MAS setup a Sandbox regulatory framework to allow experiments in FinTech to take place in Singapore. The first company to sign up is PolicyPal Pte Ltd which partnered with NTUC Income to sell life insurance directly to consumers via its portal.
Some people say life insurance sales can never be replaced by robot because insurance are sold and not bought – meaning it takes a lot of effort to persuade a person to buy insurance. This is true, that is why ‘Marketing Managers’ only have 1.4% chance of being replaced by software. This means if you are focusing on products as an agent, you will be gone soon. But if you focus on your clients, you will be okay. Marketing is all about customers persuasion.
So this brings me to the next section on how to determine the likelihood a job will be replaced by SkyNet.
How do I decide which jobs are not going to be replaced by robots?
The jobs are that are not going to be computerised can be classified as follows:
- High perception and manipulation of tasks
- High level of creativity and
- High social intelligence.
High perception and manipulation tasks. This requires high level of depth and breadth of human perception in order to manipulate complicated task. Examples are surgeons and dentists. It is also true to say that jobs that require low perception and manipulation of tasks are at risk of being replaced. Examples: factory workers and telemarketers.
High level of creativity. Creativity is the ability to come up with ideas or artifacts that are novel and valuable. Jobs that require high level of creativity are fashion designers, artists, musical compositions, poets, actors and scientists. Conversely, jobs that required low level of creativity are at risk of being replaced. Examples: clerks and data entry.
High social intelligence. This includes jobs that are those involving negotiation, persuasion and care. Examples: Social workers, lawyers, nurses and marketing managers. Those requiring low social intelligence are gone, e.g. dishwasher (now replaced by the dish washing machine) and insurance agents (to be replaced by FinTech).
Personal experience as a financial practitioner
I would like to share on the successes and failures of my clients in the area of the above broad categories.
In the area of high perception and manipulation of tasks, it is true that many of my clients in that area are very well to do. They are normally surgeons (they are always Accredited Investors) and dentists.
In the area of creative industry, those who are well paid are mainly from the advertising industry, scientists and architects. Those from the fine arts like from drama and music are very poorly paid. Normally I tell those from fine arts to change to another field otherwise they will not be able to retire. Scientists working for MNCs are generally much better paid compared to civil service. By the way, there are hardly any scientists in Singapore. Those carrying namecards stating they are 'scientists' are usually not scientists.
For ‘social intelligence’, those who are in merger and acquisitions (M&A) and marketing are paid very well. Jobs that requires them to manage other people are paid well too. The more people they manage, the higher the pay. Lawyers dealing with commercial laws are paid super well. But lawyers dealing in family law and lawyers working for civil service are poorly paid compared to the stress they have to deal with. General practitioners earn average pay only. GP are normally classified as entrepreneurs and so their running cost is quite high. Financial advisers who focus on financial planning instead of product pushers are almost always top producers.
I hope this will help everybody determine the kind of suitable job of the future. Do not go for upgrading courses blindly. Parents with young children should guide them to the right path in terms of their course selections.
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