Could a Robot Do Your Job?

Our region ranks No. 5 in a list of those most vulnerable to workplace automation.

By David Hackett August 29, 2017 Published in the July-August 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan area is the fifth most vulnerable area in the nation to having jobs threatened by automation, says a new study by the University of Redlands (California) Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis.

Over the next 20 years, 62.4 percent of the jobs in the Sarasota area will be “technically automatable,” says researcher Jess Chen, “meaning technology will reach the point where some or all of the job can be done by a robot.”

The study cites analysis by two Oxford University professors who say that advances in machine learning and robotics are rapidly accelerating. The Sarasota-Bradenton area, along with cities such as Las Vegas and Riverside, California, are most vulnerable because of a large percentage of low-wage service jobs, Chen says.

Here are jobs in the local market that could be most affected:

Cashiers: 97 percent of jobs vulnerable.

Waiters, waitresses: 96 percent.

Retail salespersons: 92 percent.

Cooks: 96 percent.

Landscaping and groundskeeping workers: 89 percent.

Chen says the following jobs are among the least likely to be affected by automation locally: recreation workers, physicians, mechanics, elementary school teachers, pharmacists and civil engineers.

Oh, and if you are a CEO, you’re fairly invulnerable, as well. Chen projects that only 1.5 percent of the area’s 520 CEO’s could be replaced by a robot.

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