Developments in robotics and AI are setting the stage for machines to replace millions of jobs, and it isn’t just the manufacturing sector being threatened. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated and efficient robots, even things like hotel room service, cashiers, and taxi drivers can potentially be automated over the next 10 years.

A study by the Brookfield Institute says that 42 per cent of the Canadian workforce is at high risk of being affected by automation over the next 10 to 20 years. Sounds scary doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be. The same study predicts that the wave of automation will also create 712,000 jobs. Let’s take a closer look.

Jobs at risk of replacement

A study by the World Economic Forum found that 5 million jobs across 15 developed nations would be lost by the year 2020. But what determines how susceptible a job is to being automated?

It all comes down to tasks. The more a job can be broken down into a series of routine tasks, the more likely it can be replaced by robots. Consider bricklaying and carpentry. An Australian Company called Fastbrick Robotics has already created a machine called Hadrian X, which lays 1000 bricks per hour, pouring them out as if it was unrolling a carpet. It would take two human bricklayers most of a day to complete the same amount of work.

If you’re unsure what this means for you, check out this nifty application that NPR created that lets you determine how at risk your job is.  According to the guide, some of the most at risk jobs include telemarketers, bank tellers, loan officers, and sports referees.

So, what are the jobs of the future?

The jobs of the future will demand three key elements: STEM education, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is already important today, but in the future it will be essential as unskilled labour will be hardest hit by automation. However, the prevalence of robots and automated systems will mean an increased need for engineers, technicians, and managers to build, maintain, and quality control the work performed by our mechanized labour force. Human error is always a possibility, but machines aren’t perfect either.

Similarly, emotional intelligence (EQ) will be increasingly important, especially for any jobs that involve human interaction. Emotions, understanding, empathy – these are things that automation has yet to interpret and deal with appropriately, which means that positions like teachers, doctors, nurses, and therapists are safe.

The creative fields should be safe for the same reasons, as automated systems may struggle with expressive creativity in fields like writing, art, design, and music.

The high-paying careers of the future

During the Industrial Revolution, people thought that machines would take all the jobs. What really happened, however, was that machines increased productivity, which raised demand and revenues, allowing companies to expand further. The result? It created more jobs in the end.

So while you might be nervous about what’s coming, it’s best to wait and see what happens. After all, there are a number of jobs today that did not exist just 15 years ago. Data scientists, social media managers, and digital marketers, for example, are all recent creations. The next decade should spur similar changes to the labour market – many companies, for example, may have a Chief Robotics Officer on their executive boards.

So while we don’t have a crystal ball to tell you what new jobs may soon be on the horizon, here are 10 high-paying jobs that will likely survive the robot invasion:

There is some overlap here with ICS Canada, which expects the following six professions to be the fastest-growing careers in Canada:

If these don’t interest you, it’s also worth looking into the industries that have grown the fastest over the last five years:

  • Nonferrous metal foundry products (12.7% growth)
  • Recycling facilities (9.6% growth)
  • Fertilizer Manufacturing (9.4% growth)
  • Beef and pork wholesaling (8.7% growth)
  • Truck, trailer, and motor home manufacturing (8.6% growth)
  • Gold and silver ore mining (7.9% growth)
  • Beef and cattle production (7% growth)
  • Real estate investment trusts (6.7% growth)
  • Beauty, cosmetic, and fragrance stores (6.6% growth)
  • Corporate wellness services (6.4% growth)

*All salary numbers are taken from