The displacement of jobs due to technology is a popular subject in the media, but there has not been much attention toward all the jobs that technology has created and will create in the future.
Business and entrepreneurship professor Renee Rock said this concern with technology’s effect on the job market has taken place since the onset of the industrial revolution.
“A lot of media attention goes to jobs that are going away,” said Rock. “If you look historically you find that yes, jobs are being displaced, but if you look deeper you’ll find that jobs are replaced with newer and better jobs.”
Rock said the number of mid-level jobs like secretarial positions and typists have decreased, but those jobs are being replaced with jobs in computer science and coding. Generally women populated the mid-level jobs like that of a secretary, but now more and more women are populating the higher tech jobs.
However, what is unique to this generation is that the technology changes so much more quickly than in previous decades.
“In 20 to 30 years what you’ve seen is that technology is replaced in such a rapid cycle,” Rock said.
Jasmine Waples, a senior majoring in multimedia is concerned about the rapid change in technology.
“I am concerned with how fast software changes like going from one version of Photoshop to another. There’s more tools and a lot of enhancements to the program, so if you don’t stay on top of it you will fall behind quickly,” Waples said.
What is also difficult about quickly changing technology is the expense.
“It’s hard to keep up to date because I don’t have the funds to constantly upgrade,” Waples said.
Despite the challenges Waples may face with technology, Waples said she chose multimedia as her major because of her interest in graphic design and all the opportunities in this broad and growing field.
“It’s art with more job security,” Waples said.
Dr. Paul Witman, professor of information technology management in the School of Management followed by emphasizing the importance of students following something they are interested in, but also making sure the students are aware of the type of job and industry trends they are pursuing.
“It is important to pay attention to how technology is affecting your career path and the industry trends to know whether or not your position is readily moveable,” Witman said.
In other words, it is important to ask yourself if people and technology can easily replace the job you are pursuing. Mid-level jobs tend to be the jobs that are most easily replaced, so if this is what you are after then you might want to reconsider your career path.
Although technology may seem to be taking over, rest assured this technological revolution has happened many times before, and has resulted in an increased amount of jobs as well as an increase in the state of living. With this increase in technology, there is an increase in mobility in the job market. Anyone can virtually work from anywhere.
Because of these advantages, Rock is confident in today’s job market.
“I don’t think there is a better time to enter the job market,” Rock said.
However, we cannot be passive about the changes in technology. It is something we must embrace and keep up to date on. The main problem with the quickly changing technology is there is not enough training or software available to the public so that people can be knowledgeable of the updates.
But more than teaching technological skills, it is important that people understand how they learn and the best way to teach themselves.
“If people learn how to learn then it will be much easier for them to adapt to quickly to changing technology,” Rock said.
If you are still uneasy about how technology might affect your career path, next semester BUS 482-09/10 Career Planning & Job Hunting will be offered as a one-credit course. The class will be two hours a week for eight weeks, and will be a much more in depth program on how to get a job.
Published December 10, 2014