The Top Skills to Learn to Defend Against Automation

What are the jobs that won’t be automated, and what are some future-ready skills workers can learn now to avoid the next big wave of automation? This deep dive into data by the team here at GreyCampus aims to actually paint a picture of what key skills will be important in the next decade. See what skills will be needed to get one of the best careers for the future.

The Top Skills to Learn to Defend Against Automation - -Infographic

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What Are Some Jobs That Will Be Replaced by Technology?

First off, there’s a high chance that you’re currently working one of the jobs that are likely to be automated. See for yourself at This site is based on a report by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborn, which created several formulas for figuring out the odds of automation. 

Jobs With the Highest Chance of Being Automated

1. Data-Entry Keyers (99% risk of automation)

2. Cargo and Freight Agents (99% risk of automation)

3. Mathematical Technicians (99% risk of automation)

4. Library Technicians (99% risk of automation)

5. Insurance Underwriters (99% risk of automation)

6. Watch Repairers (99% risk of automation)

7. Title Examiners, Abstractors, and Searchers (99% risk of automation)

8. Telemarketers (99% risk of automation)

9. Tax Preparers (99% risk of automation)

10. Sewers, Hand (99% risk of automation)

Besides some of these top positions, there are more risky jobs that will likely be automated and are held by thousands of Americans: Cashiers, food-prep workers, retail salespeople, and office clerks all have a more than 90% chance of being automated. Just those jobs alone represent more than 10 million American workers, and a lot of them will be displaced. What are the most important future skills and careers you can strive for now to stay ahead of the curve? 

What Jobs Can’t Be Replaced by Technology?

There are some jobs that can’t be automated. They might involve working with patients, solving huge problems, or working with AI and computers themselves. Here are some examples.  

Top 10 Jobs Safe From Automation

1. Recreational Therapists (0.28% risk of automation)

2. First-Line Supervisors and Mechanics (0.3% risk of automation)

3. Emergency Management Directors (0.3% risk of automation)

4. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers (0.31% risk of automation)

5. Audiologists (0.33% risk of automation)

6. Orthotists and Prosthetists (0.35% risk of automation)

7. Occupational Therapists (0.35% risk of automation)

8. Health-Care Social Workers (0.35% risk of automation)

9. First-Line Supervisors of Firefighting and Prevention Workers (0.36% risk of automation)

10. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (0.36% risk of automation)

Note that none of these jobs have a 0% chance of automation. What jobs can robots not replace? You’d be surprised how many things could possibly be automated. For instance, you might assume that you can’t replace a poet, but researchers have tried anyway

These are great positions, but a lot of people will be vying for them. You might also want to take into account the job growth rate as well as the pay when looking at how to build a future-oriented career. According to growth projections and automation risk estimates, we’ll likely need more dentists, computer and information systems managers, marketing managers, and science-minded individuals. 

What Skills Will Become Unnecessary Due to Automation? 

There might be some debate about what robots can do and cannot do, but there are lots of things that we know computers can do better than most humans. Cashiering, data entry, and clerical work are examples of skills that won’t be as important in 10 years. Given that AI keeps evolving and changing, there are very few skills, and therefore jobs, that are AI-proof, but here are some examples of skills that are quickly becoming irrelevant in America, according to studies by the McKinsey Global Institute. 

10 Skills That Will Experience a Negative Change in Hours Worked by 2030

1. General Equipment Operation and Navigation (-24% change in hours worked by 2030)

2. Inspecting and Monitoring Skills (-20% change in hours worked by 2030)

3. Basic Data Input and Processing (-19% change in hours worked by 2030)

4. Advanced Literacy and Writing (-10% change in hours worked by 2030)

5. General Equipment Repair and Mechanical Skills (-9% change in hours worked by 2030)

6. Gross Motor Skills and Strength (-9% change in hours worked by 2030)

7. Fine Motor Skills (-8% change in hours worked by 2030)

8. Basic Literacy, Numeracy, and Communication (-6% change in hours worked by 2030)

9. Craft and Technician Skills (-2% change in hours worked by 2030)

10. Quantitative and Statistical Skills (-2% change in hours worked by 2030)

What Will Be the Most In-Demand Skills for the Future?

Most people want jobs that robots can’t replace. They also want to learn the best job skills. Future skills, in terms of what will and won’t be important, can be hard to predict, but we’ve put a bit of data behind several different lists. (See our infographic for more of them.) 

If you’re considering which are the best majors for the future job market, schools that teach these core skills should be your focus. We’ve picked out the top careers for the future and pointed to the top skills that will be important for them. 

To find the most profitable skills to learn, we took a look at the top 15 most low-automation-risk, high-growth, and high-paying jobs and their top three skills listed as relevant to those positions on O-Net OnLine, a resource by the U.S. Department of Labor. The “importance” of each skill was ranked on a 1-to-100 scale, and we added up these points to see which skills will become very important in the next few decades. 

The Most Important Skills for Low-Risk, High-Pay, High-Growth Jobs

1. Critical Thinking

2. Active Listening

3. Speaking

4. Reading Comprehension

5. Mathematics

6. Judgment and Decision-Making

7. Complex Problem-Solving

8. Science

9. Management of Personnel Resources

10. Programming

No matter which list of automation-proof skills you look at, critical thinking is going to be vitally important. There are many different types of critical-thinking jobs, and project management courses from GreyCampus can help with many of them. This is a great resource for learning the different IT management, technology, and critical-thinking skills you’ll need during the age of automation to stay profitable and relevant. 

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