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Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

A new study looks at which occupations and which regions could be most impacted.
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe
Image credit: Bernd Opitz | Getty Image
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
3 min read

The question of the role of robotics and automation in our everyday lives is one that looms large over conversations about what the workplaces and economies of the future will look like. As technology has become embedded into our lives, it’s not so much a question of if it will affect the kinds of jobs people hold, but when, where and how.

A group of researchers from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., conducted a study to better understand which U.S. industries and regions are most susceptible to change driven by automation. They also explored why the subject is such a fraught, hot-button policy issue.

Related: Bill Gates Believes Robots That Steal Jobs Should Pay Taxes

“Since 2000, manufacturing production in the U.S. has risen more than 10 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, while manufacturing employment has declined by almost 5.5 million jobs,” the researchers noted. “Though automation and trade alone do not account for many of the changes that occurred across regions of the United States, the fortunes of manufacturing have special resonance for several reasons. First, manufacturing tends to be highly geographically concentrated, with job losses focused by location and industry. Second, manufacturing jobs have been a source of middle-class wages throughout the middle part of the 20th Century.”

The study looked at the top 25 areas that would be most affected by automation. They were highly concentrated in very specific parts of the country -- two counties in Alaska, five in Georgia, three in Virginia, two in Mississippi, two in South Carolina, one in North Carolina, four in Alabama, four in Indiana and one in Kentucky.

The researchers also did a breakdown of which jobs and which regions are most likely to be affected by automation.

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Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Data entry keyers

Not safe: Data entry keyers
Image credit: alexisdc | Getty Images

Number of employees: 2,168,000

Annual income: $29,460

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Mathematical science occupations, all other

Not safe: Mathematical science occupations, all other
Image credit: Hill Street Studios/Tobin Rogers | Getty Images
Number of employees: 18,000
Annual income: $66,210
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Telemarketers

Not safe: Telemarketers
Image credit: Paul Bradbury | Getty Images
Number of employees: 2,379,000
Annual income: $23,530
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Insurance underwriters

Not safe: Insurance underwriters
Image credit: PhotoAlto/Eric Audras | Getty Images
Number of employees: 1,034,000
Annual income: $65,040
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Mathematical technicians

Not safe: Mathematical technicians
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images
Number of employees: 12,000
Annual income: $46,600
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Sewers, hand

Not safe: Sewers, hand
Image credit: Thomas Northcut | Getty Images
Number of employees: 12,000
Annual income: $23,640
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Tax preparers

Not safe: Tax preparers
Image credit: Dutko | Getty Images
Number of employees: 904,000
Annual income: $36,450
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Photographic process workers and processing machine operator

Not safe: Photographic process workers and processing machine operator
Image credit: Boston Globe | Getty Images

Number of employees: 288,000
Annual income: $26,590

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Library technicians

Not safe: Library technicians
Image credit: Hill Street Studios | Getty Images
Number of employees: 1,018,000
Annual income: $32,310
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Not safe: Watch repairers

Not safe: Watch repairers
Image credit: Rudenkoi | Getty Images
Number of employees: 27,000
Annual income: $34,750
Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Recreational therapists

Safe: Recreational therapists
Image credit: Getty

Number of employees: 186,000
Annual income: $45,890

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Emergency management directors

Safe: Emergency management directors
Image credit: Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Number of employees: 105,000
Annual income: $67,330

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers

Safe: First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
Image credit: PeopleImages | Getty Images

Number of employees: 4,471,000
Annual income: $63,010

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Mental health and substance abuse social workers

Safe: Mental health and substance abuse social workers
Image credit: Sneksy | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,178,000
Annual income: $42,170

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Audiologists

Safe: Audiologists
Image credit: monkeybusinessimages | Getty Images

Number of employees: 132,000
Annual income: $74,890

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Occupational therapists

Safe: Occupational therapists
Image credit: FatCamera | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,146,000
Annual income: $80,150

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Healthcare social workers

Safe: Healthcare social workers
Image credit: fotografixx | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,601,000
Annual income: $52,380

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Orthotrists and prosthetists

Safe: Orthotrists and prosthetists
Image credit: Westend61 | Getty Images

Number of employees: 83,000
Annual income: $64,430

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Health technologists and technicians, all other

Safe: Health technologists and technicians, all other
Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Number of employees: 1,022,000
Annual income: $41,260

Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe

Safe: Hearing aid specialists

Safe: Hearing aid specialists
Image credit: Hoxton/Tom Merton | Getty Images

Number of employees: 59,000
Annual income: $49,600

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  • Here Are the Jobs Most Likely to Be Replaced by Robots, and Those That Are Safe
  • Not safe: Data entry keyers
  • Not safe: Mathematical science occupations, all other
  • Not safe: Telemarketers
  • Not safe: Insurance underwriters
  • Not safe: Mathematical technicians
  • Not safe: Sewers, hand
  • Not safe: Tax preparers
  • Not safe: Photographic process workers and processing machine operator
  • Not safe: Library technicians
  • Not safe: Watch repairers
  • Safe: Recreational therapists
  • Safe: Emergency management directors
  • Safe: First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers
  • Safe: Mental health and substance abuse social workers
  • Safe: Audiologists
  • Safe: Occupational therapists
  • Safe: Healthcare social workers
  • Safe: Orthotrists and prosthetists
  • Safe: Health technologists and technicians, all other
  • Safe: Hearing aid specialists
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