Though machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have been around a long time and have replaced some jobs, it’s only recently that many people started asking, “What jobs will AI replace, and is one of them mine?” And with good reason. While the general consensus has been that AI or robots would mostly replace manual labor or low-wage jobs, it seems that may not be the case.
So, what jobs will AI replace, and is one of them yours? What jobs can AI not replace? And should you adjust your career plans thanks to AI? It’s a lot to cover, but this guide breaks it all down.
>>MORE: Discover what career is right for you with our free career quiz for students.
How Did We Get Here?
Before we talk about what jobs AI will and won’t replace in the future, we need to examine past predictions about AI and jobs.
In 2013, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, professors at the University of Oxford, published a paper examining the possible impact computerization and automation could have on jobs. Using data from multiple sources, they created a model that predicted that within 10 to 20 years, 47% of all U.S. jobs would be at risk of being replaced by computers.
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Frey and Osborn found that the jobs most likely to be replaced by computers and automation were in these industries:
- Transportation and logistics
- Administrative and office
- Service industry, e.g., food service
Frey and Osborn also suggested that low-wage, low-skill jobs were more likely to be replaced by computers and automation than higher-wage, higher-skill jobs and that people who wanted to stay employed would need to find roles in industries less susceptible to automation.
What Jobs Will AI Replace (and Why)?
Twenty years later, ChatGPT hit the scene and shook things up. The large language model (LLM) got people interested in AI and, of course, wondering what jobs AI could replace.
While there has been a lot of predicting and discussing about what jobs AI will (or won’t) replace, one website is using data to help you see whether or not AI is likely to replace your job. Will Robots Take My Job builds on Frey and Osborne’s original model with updates to account for changes in technology and its impact on jobs.
To answer, “What jobs will AI replace, and is one of them mine?” simply input your job title, and the model will predict the risk level that your job will be replaced by AI.
But if you’re still considering which job or career path to pursue, Will Robots Take My Job identifies seven sectors with jobs at “imminent risk” of being replaced by AI or automation, along with the number of jobs that could be lost to AI:
- Transportation and material moving (nearly 12 million jobs)
- Sales and sales-related roles (3.8 million jobs)
- Production (2.8 million jobs)
- Office and administrative support (14.4 million jobs)
- Food preparation and service (4.4 million jobs)
- Business and financial operations (700,000 jobs)
- Other, which includes:
- Art, design, entertainment, sports, and media (14,000 jobs)
- Building, grounds cleaning, and maintenance (3.8 million jobs)
- Legal occupations (414,000 jobs)
- Personal care and service operations (179,000 jobs)
- Protective service operations (91,000 jobs)
To be clear, “imminent risk” does not mean jobs in these sectors will disappear tomorrow, next week, or even in the next year. The model indicates that jobs in these industries will disappear over time, most likely due to AI or other kinds of automation.
Why Will AI Replace These Jobs?
So, why are jobs in some sectors more likely to be replaced by AI than others?
“The primary reason is efficiency,” says Farooq Zafar, prompt engineer at Meta Platforms/Scale AI. “AI systems can often complete tasks faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost than human workers.”
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“Routine, repetitive tasks are most vulnerable,” he says. “Examples include data entry, basic customer service roles, and bookkeeping.” Even assembly line roles are at risk because robots tend to work faster than humans and don’t need bathroom breaks.
Zafar also points out that jobs with “thinking” tasks are more vulnerable to replacement. “Jobs that rely on analyzing large sets of data, like basic financial analysis or certain types of research, are at risk because AI can process and analyze data much faster than humans.”
What Jobs Will AI Not Replace?
So, those are the jobs that AI could replace in the future. But what jobs can AI not replace anytime soon? Sectors with a low risk of jobs being replaced by AI include:
- Management (5 million jobs)
- Installation, maintenance, and repair (2.5 million jobs)
- Health care practitioners and technicians (1.4 million jobs)
- Educational instruction and library (552,000 jobs)
- Construction and extraction (821,000 jobs)
These sectors span a wide variety of job options. Some roles require a bachelor’s degree or even more advanced education, while others need far less. But these sectors have two things in common, which make them less likely to be replaced by AI: they directly impact people and require problem-solving skills.
But why these industries?
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“Jobs deeply rooted in human interaction, empathy, and unpredictable environments stand the best chance against AI,” says Zafar. “Creative professions like artists, authors, and designers thrive on unique human perspectives. Therapists, social workers, and counselors rely on deep emotional understanding and human connection.”
Without these traits, you likely won’t succeed in the role, and these are the abilities AI doesn’t possess (yet!), making it unlikely that AI will replace these kinds of jobs any time soon.
Likewise, roles that require creative thinking, complex problem-solving, and critical thinking are also safe from AI for now. As an example, Zafar points out that the ability to improvise and adapt when things change or you have to integrate new information into your plan are abilities that AI does not possess, so strategy consultants and other similar roles don’t have to worry about being replaced by AI.
How Can I Protect My Job From AI?
While it’s possible that some jobs will be replaced by AI, not all will. So, what can you do to protect your job from AI?
“Focus on lifelong learning and skill acquisition,” advises Zafar. Building your skills in areas like emotional intelligence, leadership, and interpersonal skills can make you more valuable to employers since AI is unlikely to develop these abilities any time soon.
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He also advises to stay up to date on industry trends. As AI grows and adapts, you need to do the same. “Being willing to embrace change and learn new technologies can make you invaluable.”
And finally, Zafar says to consider embracing your robot counterpart. “Understanding AI and related technologies can be beneficial. Even if you’re not in tech, having a foundational grasp allows you to work alongside these tools, leveraging them rather than being threatened by them. Blend the irreplaceable human touch with a mindset of continuous adaptation and growth.”
For example, a writer might worry that AI could replace them — maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually. Instead of arguing about the pros and cons of AI-generated content, a writer could find ways to leverage AI to improve their efficiency and productivity.
Artificial intelligence does a decent job of summarizing long or complex text. So, instead of trying to read, digest, and summarize this kind of information on their own, a writer could input the article into AI and ask the bot to summarize it. While the writer would need to confirm the analysis is correct, having AI do the heavy lifting saves the writer time and allows them to produce more content.
Another great way to grow your skills and stay ahead of AI is with a Forage virtual job simulation. Building and developing your skills now gives you a suite of skills to build on for the future. All our simulations are free, so join one today.
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