Cory is a tractor-truck driver. As a child, he was always fascinated by the rumbling 18-wheelers that dominated the highway behind his home. He counted giant headlights rather than sheep at bedtime.
Cory is grown up now, and the bills are piling up while his wife’s belly grows with their first-born. Cory’s dream isn’t as a truck driver, despite his childhood fascination, but he agrees to meet his friend who works at a local trucking service over a drink one evening. Truck driving can’t be that bad.
“I know the job isn’t ideal. It is secure though, people will always need goods delivered. Plus it pays alright,” his friend says as he takes the receipt out of Cory’s hands.
“This one is on me, especially if you’ll come down for an interview. We are in desperate need for folks. We will even pay for your license.”
Ten years later, Cory’s once secure job is at risk. Not because his friend was wrong, indeed, goods will always need to be delivered, but because of automation.
Seriously, I’m talking about robots.
According to one study, heavy and tractor-truck drivers have a 78.6% chance of being automated within 20 years. Today, there are over 1,700,000 truck drivers, and the number of truck drivers is expected to grow 5% over the next 10 years.
Automation isn’t going to just get rid of truck drivers, however. In fact, 45 percent of tasks in the United States could be automated in the near future.
There is some onus on those who are at risk to pick up some new skill sets, but employers and startups (perhaps even the government) should look to solutions as well in on-the-job training and creating new jobs by dissecting lower skilled, non-automated tasks from highly skilled (and expensive) employees.
And Cory, alongside millions of others, probably won’t be prepared for retirement by the time he is replaced by robots. And the job market already isn’t great for people 50 and above.
But are you prepared to hired Cory?
One day Cory’s resume may end up in your email.
“A truck driver? What on earth would I do with that?” you may wonder as you click delete before opening a résumé from a “malleable” college graduate.
Or maybe you are prepared, and ready to take advantage of the “automation boom” as some are calling it. You’re just rolling in fantastic new hires while other companies are struggling to find their unicorns.
Challenge yourself. Consider Cory’s skill set. He probably has a great attention span, fantastic time management, logistics training, and communication skills.
Think about the tasks you, a coworker, or someone else in your organization do. What could Cory master in a week? A day? An hour? Fifteen minutes? What could he learn on his own verses having you teach him every step of the way?
And how much more productive would your company be for having hired Cory and investing a little into him?