Hire Thoughts: AI replacing ‘first jobs’ could present a challenge for tomorrow’s highly skilled workers

Boy with Chalk MusclesEverybody knows that your first job is one of the most important – it shapes who you are as a professional and builds those essential soft skills that are in hot demand with hiring managers.

But what does it mean for the workforce when the teenagers slinging orders or scanning groceries are replaced by technology? According to The Brookings Institute, workers 16 to 24 are most vulnerable to the rise of artificial intelligence. In fact, experts say that this kind of technology is capable of performing almost half (49%) of the current “first job” roles, and could feasibly replace a whopping 91% of food preparation tasks, 86% of stock clerk and order filling tasks and 77% of wait staff tasks.


Changing The Face of The Future 

This displacement of young first job workers not only eliminates job prospects for young people but it risks stunting the growth of foundational soft skills – essential for success in tomorrow’s highly skilled workforce. In fact, these kinds of skills are valued so much so that 71% of hiring managers say they’re crucial for success in the candidate’s future roles, with 75% of Americans even saying they would rather hire a candidate with plentiful soft skills over the technical experience for the role.

Obviously, AI taking over “first jobs” and making a dent in future soft skills is a look well into the future – but it’s a necessary look nonetheless. It speaks to the important role that soft skills play in being successful in a modern workplace. As opportunities for young people to experience the value of teamwork and communication in a work setting decrease, it could eventually begin to jeopardize future workplace cultures with “bad hires” and cultural misfits.


One Hire Thought

The proliferation of technology is only going to increase and to stay on top, employers in all industries must acknowledge the need for soft skills and human interaction. Yet as time goes by, employers may need to shift their thinking on how soft skills are developed in tomorrow’s highly skilled workers.

In even just a few years, the onus may be on more advanced companies to give their workers the training and opportunities to build those oh-so-necessary soft skills.  

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