The robots are coming for your job. At least that’s what the investment class thinks.
Last week, Bloomberg surveyed 678 investors about the future of work as part of its Markets Live Pulse survey. Almost 40% of respondents said that if elementary-school-age children—known as Gen Alpha—want an A.I.-proof job when they grow up, they should work in health care. Jobs in the medical fields rely near-exclusively on human-to-human interaction, which, as it stands, doesn’t seem easily replaceable by artificial intelligence or ChatGPT.
They were surprisingly bearish on their own field, too: finance. Only 12.4% said the field would be most A.I.-proof for kindergarteners.
The picture changes for graduating high school seniors. For that age group, 51.3% of Bloomberg respondents encouraged a career in tech. The second-most popular industry was health care, followed by finance, then social media, sports, and other areas.
In an earlier MLIV Pulse survey, Bloomberg wrote, most workers in the financial sector expressed confidence that their jobs were safe from being replaced by A.I. within the next three years. But over the long haul, that confidence has been shaken by the events and revelations of the past year.
“At an investment bank, people are hired out of college, and spend two, three years to work like robots and do Excel modeling—you can get A.I. to do that,” Pengcheng Shi, a dean at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s computer science department, told the New York Post in January.
Plus, “A.I. can identify trends in the market, highlight what investments in a portfolio are doing better and worse, communicate all that, and then use various other forms of data by, say, a financial company to forecast a better investment mix,” Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has researched the impact of A.I. on the U.S. workforce, told Insider.
The fact that the tech world—following a period of rampant over-hiring during the pandemic—has been rife with layoffs this year, seems to be of little note to the respondents. It would appear that despite the risks inherent to working at a giant like Salesforce, Meta, or Twitter right now, tech skills remain in high demand and the positives of the industry as a whole continue to outweigh the downsides.
“The highest-paying jobs were so clearly in the finance sector for two or three decades, and now tech is really competitive with that—they’re kind of neck and neck,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of HR consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told Bloomberg. But even though health care will potentially reign supreme in 50 years, tech and finance will still be the most lucrative options for the foreseeable future, he predicted.
The proof is in the pudding: When Big Tech and Silicon Valley cut hundreds of thousands of jobs, other companies across industries flew into action, recruiting and hiring that same talent for a variety of positions. That’s another point in favor of workers with tech skills.
“For every Big Tech company that’s laying off, there are still the [small and midsize] companies in these markets that are eager to absorb the talent,” Megan Slabinski, a Bay Area and Pacific Northwest district president at staffing firm Robert Half, told Fortune’s Anne Sraders. “As soon as people are hitting the market, they’re being pursued and absorbed by those other industries and other companies.”
Working in health care also proves to be a lucrative decision. The global population is growing older and frailer; by 2040, the population of aging seniors—already the largest-ever today—is expected to hit 80.8 million. According to the United Nations, by 2050, the share of “older adults” will reach an estimated 1.6 billion—16.5% of the total population. As a result, many economists expect an outsize demand for health care workers.
One thing that definitely can’t be outsourced to robots or ChatGPT anytime soon: tactile jobs. While 74% of Bloomberg’s survey respondents said undergrad degrees are still worth the time and effort, some suggested that a career in the trades—such as working in HVAC or as a driver—could be both a lucrative and wise decision. Not to mention, it would mean avoiding unthinkably high student loan debt, which even the most advanced A.I. would struggle to pay off.