The Human Touch: Five Robot-Proof Careers


Almost no one chooses a career based on the 20-year forecast of an industry. No, most of us are guided by hopes or dreams, or we’re looking for a job that suits our talents, strengths, and will provide some quality of life in the process.

But is it wrong to consider how an industry is trending when trying to plan your working life? Of course not. It’s reasonable to wonder if in five or 10 or 25 years the job you want could be phased out. Could that position one day be filled by a robot that’s currently springing to life in a white-walled lab somewhere? Or is there a risk your chosen career could be rendered obsolete by a program that can collect, track or organize data more efficiently than a human? The jobs traditionally considered vulnerable to automation are in manufacturing and retail — work that requires repeated, undynamic action — but all things brick-and-mortar don’t seem nearly as permanent as they did 10 years ago.

Of course, these are anxiety-inducing topics. Nobody wants to wake up one day and find their livelihood has been called obsolete. So if you’re weighing multiple careers tracks or you’re just choosing a general direction for your professional life, consider these five careers. Unless science fiction strikes, they’re virtually robot-proof.

Mental Health Counselor

You could say therapy is the ultimate person-to-person career. Counselors helps clients make sense of their often complex and unexamined life problems through intense listening and ultra-personal treatment plans. The field is built on a specific kind of trust between counselor and patient. It’s not an easy task and can often require starting out in low-paying agency work, but counseling is a rewarding job that hinges on the ability to see and speak to the humanity of another person. There’s no automated substitute for the connection forged during treatment. It’s also worth noting that with the stigma around therapy gradually fading in our society, and the importance of mental health becoming more and more apparent, this field is currently expanding.

Event Planner

Sure, they use spreadsheets and can help develop online strategies for promotion, but event planners get hired for that calm, reliable human touch. It’s a job that requires intense organization, and adaptability when that organization (of course) doesn’t go 100 percent as planned. Planners take the reigns on weddings, parties, conferences — any kind of large event that needs the sole attention of a professional to pull off. The road to professionally planning events often begins with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, communications or public relations. That’s because planners’ best weapons are their eyes, ears, steady nerves and good taste.

Information Technology Lawyer

With digital technology multiplying, who will make sure it’s used ethically and within the laws of society? Multiple online sources advise today’s laws students that one of the smartest financial moves they can make is becoming familiar with the legality of tech. The next generation of attorneys will spend more time reviewing contracts and documentation for software and apps than any prior one. Plus, the definition of intellectual property is constantly blurring and evolving with the advent of internet and streaming technology. This field isn’t one where humans need to talk to humans;

Registered Nurses

While the medical field is depending on more and more advanced equipment when it comes to treatment and records, every patient is expecting meaningful, reassuring human interaction when they visit the hospital or doctor’s office. Registered nurses are crucial for their bedside manner and ability to solve problems and field questions from patients who may be understandably nervous or upset about their reason for being at the doctor. The number of jobs for registered nurses is projected to grow more than 15 percent in the next 10 years, which is quite a spike. The potential growth can be attributed to the aging of the Baby Boom generation and increased emphasis on preventative care. Regardless of the patient,

Human Resources Advisor

These professionals are responsible for being the listening ear within larger company settings that can sometimes be short on genuine person-to-person contact. They’re the guardians of the work environment, helping to settle disputes, examining problems with pay or benefits, and making sure workers are understood and protected when they come to work. HR advisors also play a critical role in recruitment, hiring and firing. These are areas where diplomacy, empathy and being able to respond to tough questions are important. As with all the careers listed here, there’s job security in leaning into fields where a personal touch and oversight are the essence of the jobs.

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