Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tech-related jobs that didn't exist (officially, at least) 15 years ago | Pew Research Center

August 6, 2014

Reshaping the workplace: Tech-related jobs that didn’t exist (officially, at least) 15 years ago

Cable Giant Comcast To Acquire Time Warner Cable
Comcast worker stands among the cables and routers at the company’s
distribution center in Pompano Beach, Fla., from which regional video,
high speed data and voice are piped out to customers. (Photo by Joe
Raedle/Getty Images)

Technological innovation has been changing the jobs people do, and the way they do them, at least since the first spinning jennies went
into service in England’s textile industry in the 1760s. And for about
as long, people have sought to forecast what new technologies might mean
for the world of work — predictions that tend to be either utopian
(2-hour workdays!) or dystopian (massive unemployment).

A new Pew Research Center report joins
that tradition, gathering the opinions of nearly 1,900 experts on how
advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will affect employment
in the future. And again, opinions were divided, with about half saying
robots and digital agents would leave significant numbers of workers —
white and blue collar — idle by 2025, and the other half saying
those technologies would lead to more new jobs than they displace. (Nor
is this issue confined to the U.S.: The Belgian think tank Bruegel recently estimated
how many current jobs in the 28 EU countries were vulnerable
to computerization; the rates ranged from 47% in Sweden and the U.K. to
62% in Romania.) 

Much as we try, no one can see into the future. But we can look to
the recent past to get a sense for how technological change already has
reshaped the U.S. workforce — creating new job categories while others
fade away.

These changes can be tracked using data from the Occupational Employment Statistics
program, a federal-state project that regularly surveys business
establishments to generate employment and wage estimates for some 800
different occupations. The OES program periodically revises its
occupational classification scheme — adding some occupations, dropping
some and changing the definitions of others. While that can make
year-over-year comparisons tricky, the changes themselves can
illustrate emerging and declining job categories.

Tech-related jobs that didn't exist (officially, at least) 15 years ago | Pew Research Center: