Skills and Jobs for the Digital Future


George Westerman, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (@gwesterman)

Gerald Chertavian, Year Up (@yearup)
Prof. Tom Davenport, Fellow at MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (@tdav)
Karen Kocher, Cigna (@kkocher)
Steve Phillips, Avnet, Inc. (@Steven_phillips)

Are AI and robots eating jobs? Yes–some jobs more than others. But even as automation replaces some workers, it will enhance the roles of others. Companies will need people who can work closely with technology, as well as those who can do what computers cannot. How can CIOs develop a workforce that will thrive in the digital age? Which skills will be valued and which ones will be replaced? Does college still matter? Will on-demand workers replace full-time employees? Join our eclectic panel-–experts in AI and jobs, Human Resources, alternative skill development, and digital leadership–as they describe what the coming changes in skills, jobs, and careers mean for CIOs and their companies.

Forrester forecasts that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of US jobs by 2025.


  • 16% of US jobs will be replaced, while the equivalent of 9% jobs will be created — a net loss of 7% of US jobs by 2025.
  • Office and administrative support staff will be the most rapidly disrupted.
  • The cognitive era will create new jobs, such as robot monitoring professionals, data scientists, automation specialists, and content curators: Forrester forecasts 8.9 million new jobs in the US by 2025.
  • 93% of automation technologists feel unprepared or only partially prepared to tackle the challenges associated with smart machine technologies.


NPR Planet Money:

Truck drivers dominate the map for a few reasons.

  • Driving a truck has been immune to two of the biggest trends affecting U.S. jobs: globalization and automation. A worker in China can’t drive a truck in Ohio, and machines can’t drive cars (yet).
  • Regional specialization has declined. So jobs that are needed everywhere — like truck drivers and schoolteachers — have moved up the list of most-common jobs.
  • The prominence of truck drivers is partly due to the way the government categorizes jobs. It lumps together all truck drivers and delivery people, creating a very large category. Other jobs are split more finely; for example, primary school teachers and secondary school teachers are in separate categories.

The rise and fall of secretaries: Through much of the ’80s, as the U.S. economy shifted away from factories that make goods and toward offices that provide services, secretary became the most common job in more and more states. But a second shift — the rise of the personal computer — reversed this trend, as machines did more and more secretarial work.