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Workers threatened by automation shift their skills to become drivers, electricians: LinkedIn

According to LinkedIn’s latest workforce report, workers looking for jobs that don’t require a college degree have wisened up to the fact that automation is a threat.

In the past three years there’s been a shift from routine cognitive or “repetitive desk jobs” – which saw a 4% decline in LinkedIn job postings from 2015 to 2018 – to non-routine manual jobs, which were 3% higher over the same period.

Workers without college degrees, LinkedIn says, are shifting their skills to more manual jobs, like drivers, plumbers, construction workers, and technicians.

“Interestingly, non-routine manual jobs – such as drivers and electrician – are increasing in employment share as well, and these jobs may not require college degrees,” the report says.

Businessman traveling in car and pressing the car assistance button

The major beneficiaries of this shift: ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. LinkedIn has seen a spike in Uber and Lyft drivers creating profiles on its site. Uber driver profiles increased 379% since 2015, while Lyft profiles rose by 515%.

“It’s an interesting shift that we’re seeing these types of workers shift their skill sets into things that cannot be automated like a plumber…a robot’s never going to come fix your plumbing, or never come wire your house. So these kinds of things will at least for the time being stand the test of automation,” says LinkedIn spokesperson Sophie Sieck.

Repetitive desk jobs such as ticket agents and phone operators are the types of jobs people without college degrees have traditionally pursued. And according to LinkedIn’s report, these jobs are in decline – 4% lower from 2015 to 2018. And the main culprit, of course: automation.

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