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Future Southwest Louisiana jobs in the robot age

Posted by: George Swift on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Our region is in the midst of unprecedented growth and job creation. These jobs will provide the foundation for keeping our young people here and in attracting new residents for generations to come. 

We are fortunate to have a regional university and a top ranked community technical college. Today’s and future generations will be affected by technology. Many jobs being done today will be replaced by robots and technology. There will have to be a change in our mindset for future jobs if we are to maximize our growth. 

Axios recently released a report which highlights the issue, from Cognizant, an IT firm in New Jersey. The report identified 50 jobs of the future that will replace many current occupations that are being vaporized. 

“Work culture” which grew at a “frothy” rate over the past year, includes training and development specialists, career counselors, and industrial-organizational psychologists. These specialists are using technology to do a better job, and helping employees do the same,” the report says. 

“Jobs of the future” have been growing faster than all jobs. The report says the only job category to fall over the past year was health care, which includes everyone from biomedical engineers to registered nurses. Reasons include financial pressures in the industry and uncertainty about U.S. health care policy. 

Jobs that grew the most in the past year: personal care aide, genetic counselor, transporation supervisor, fashion designer and video game designer. Jobs that fell the most are solar energy installer, alternative energy manager, home health aid, registered nurse, and aerospace engineer. 

A lot of the jobs of the future are jobs that are being done today, said Benjamin Pring, director of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant. To think everyone would be a computer scientist is unrealistic.” 

In fact, some traditional job categories will grow as they add a digital component. As a region heavily dependent upon the petrochemical sector, what can we expect job-wise?   

Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland recently shed light in the “Houston Business Journal.” 

Garland was asked how he expected Phillips 66’s headcount to change as the technology in the industry changes. 

He said: “If someone is working for Phillips, they’re valued. They have a great job, and they’re contributing to the greater success. But there is a lot of transactional activity that requires humans to do work that is ultimately going to get automated. It’s not necessarily that we’re just going to get rid of people. I think it actually frees people up to do high-value work.” 

Garland went on to say: “We’re not going to recognize the workplace 10 years from today. So I think, it’s actually a very exciting time for employees. And by the way, we can love digitial transformation or we can hate it, but it’s coming either way. Embracing the change and figuring out how to be a part of it is something I encourage employees to do at all levels, because we are always going to need bright people who are engaged and want to create value in the workplace.” 

That is excellent advice for all of us. My granddaughters are 11 and 6 and the future holds excitement for them with changes I can’t imagine now. My hope is that SW La. will change and keep up to date so they have a choice about living here to fulfill their career dream.


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