Job Security in an Automated Age

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

One of my all-time favorite television commercials is the Monster “When I Grow Up” spot that debuted during Super Bowl XXXIII. The ad was effective because it depicted the very opposite of what we aspire to during our formative years. Children in the ad speak as jaded adults with less-than-optimistic expectations for their work futures. Toward its end, the ad poignantly asks, “What did you want to be?” It offers hope, though, in its final frame: “There’s a better job out there.” The ad ran in 1999, but it’s even more relevant now because of the growing challenges of job security in an automated age.


Skills and Training Are the Currency of the Automated Age

The ultimate point of the Monster ad – don’t settle for unsatisfying work – still resonates loudly. We all want a fulfilling career, but we also want security, so positioning yourself to fulfill both of those needs is a must.

Seismic shifts have occurred in workforce dynamics as automation advances at an exponential rate. In 1999, things such as robotics and artificial intelligence still sounded like science fiction to many of us; now they are part of our vocabulary – proof that automation has arrived and is here to stay.

What does the future hold? No one knows exactly, but we can prepare by aligning ourselves with trajectories of emerging realities in our particular industries.

The need to recognize and understand innovation is palpable. How can that awareness translate into job security? Use it to identify and pursue the skills and training that will make you a valuable employee.

The goal, after all, is to feel fulfilled and to secure your career in an age of developing technologies.

Revolutionary Change Isn’t New to the Workplace

Revolutionary change brings uncertainty, but workers have experienced significant change at pivotal points in history and learned to adapt. One historic turning point was the Industrial Revolution, which was both exciting and unsettling.

The notion of machines executing tasks once reserved for humans isn’t entirely new, is it? In the boom of technology, the same principle applies. We want to possess indispensable skills that aren’t easily mimicked in a mechanized process.

This is where upskilling becomes critical. Upskilling is the way not merely to survive but also to thrive in an evolving work landscape.

View Automation as a Challenge, not a Threat

Let’s commit 1999 to memory with the hope that we’re all pursuing the kind of work we want now that we’re grown-ups.

Instead of being overwhelmed by cynicism or fear, let’s keep our eyes wide open and look to the exciting opportunities that will manifest as the automated age unfolds. After all, the automation wonks say there will be a net gain of jobs and that the machines will do the dirtiest work.

A manager talking with his employees in a conference room.

USF Can Help Position You for Tomorrow’s Workplace

The types of jobs automation yields will vary, but many of those jobs will afford adaptable employees the opportunity to move up the workplace food chain. For many, the difference between moving up and being pushed aside lies in the type of continuing education and training that USF’s Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education can deliver.

To learn more about USF’s dedication to interacting with professionals and advancing careers, explore the university’s Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education. Visit the CTPE website or contact us.

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Mark Koulianos is director of USF’s Office of Corporate Training and Professional Education and a 20-plus-year veteran of the corporate world. Read Koulianos’ full bio.