Study: millions of jobs may be automated by 2030, Wichita expert weighs in

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A new study suggests 375 million jobs may be automated by 2030.

The McKinsey Global Institute study says the work most at risk of automation includes physical jobs in predictable environments, data collection, fast food preparation and back-office processing.

“If it’s highly repetitive skills or highly repetitive activity and it doesn’t take a lot of skill then their chances of keeping that job long-term is going to be minimal,” said Jeremy Hill the Director of the Center of Economic Development and Business Research. “If you go and click and pull the same database and process it the same way, it doesn’t matter if you are in a service sector, those jobs will go away eventually because there is already software that is watching your clicks and can repeat the same things over and over.”

Jeremy Hill was quick to add automation should not be seen as negative. He said as technology continues to advance, new career opportunities become available.

“Although, we have lost a lot of jobs and in Kansas it has impacted our state on the labor side. We are also creating other jobs and more innovation and it’s creating environments where we have to be creative,” Hill said. “So those people who are innovative, that are willing to take risks those are the environments that continue to expand and are the healthiest today.”

Hill said the farming and manufacturing industries have already seen changes in the number of jobs and the kinds of jobs that are being done because of technology. Hill pointed to the times where people would manually install rivets on aircrafts. Now, machines do a majority of the rivet work. Again, he added as machines take over those jobs, other types of jobs become available.

“Every time there is a loss, there’s also a creation of jobs,” Hill said. “Today, we have so many more jobs that were created because we have more and more leisure time because of that technology.”

Hill said if people are worried about losing their jobs to automation they should try their best to stay competitive in their field, stay flexible and willing to learn new skills. He added it’s likely jobs won’t just be cut. He said many companies just may not rehire people after an employee retires.