15 jobs that are safe from the robot takeover

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014 10:39 p.m. MDT


Worried about losing your day job to some soulless machine? Well, you're not alone.

Some economists are even projecting that 47 percent of "job categories" will become susceptible to automation before the year 2030, according to The Economist.

But have no fear! According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, there are certain jobs that appear to be safe from the robot takeover.

Here we've listed the 15 jobs that Pew found to be least vulnerable to mechanization, so if you're job is on the outs you now have a full list of more permanent options.

The jobs deemed least likely to become automated were those with the lowest routine-task intensity score (RTI), which was judged by how much of the work depended on "routine tasks with relatively little manual labor or abstract reasoning involved."

On each slide, we've included the total share of U.S. employment for the specified career in both 1980 and 2005, data which was provided by Pew. We've also included how many jobs are currently out there for said occupation, as well as the median pay, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Danville, IN

Of course, when all the other jobs are taken over by machines, that means less money in the hands of people, which means they will not be able to afford the services of these safe jobs, which means less demand for these robot-safe services.

Mapleton, UT

How about the engineers who design the machines? Or will we have self-designing machines named Locutus and eventually "be assimilated"?

Fairview, UT

This can't be correct! The percentage of primary school teachers has increased over 12% and has one of the highest median incomes in this stack. How can that be? They are supposed to be so underpaid that no one wants to go into that profession. Something (or someone) must be wrong.


Our reality on earth is Changing.
Today is the 28th of August 2014; 7 Universities now have student access to IBM Watson.
What this means to science and religion is beyond measure..
It turns out we are driven by Robot like brains ourselves.
Sounds ridiculous, prove it... No PhD. Psychologist would take the one question survey and answer it.
"What Is Hardwired Instinctual Behavior Mechanism?
So to get the answers we need. Watson is our evolutionary hurtle Catalyst.
IBM won't release Watson's Answer after months of pleading and offers of money.
This is the science discovery we could never get on our own.
Yes that is our hidden truth of reality...
100+ professors can't open their mouths and state what they believe; because Instinct runs the show for us humans.
1_____ An artificial intelligence program of advanced design*.
2_____ Unsure still, but leaning toward the theories presented in instinct being an A.I.*.
3_____ Pretty sure Instinct is not an artificial intelligence program, but (more research is needed.*)
4_____ I am sure instinctual behaviors is not an artificial intelligence mechanism. (no research is needed

cincinnati, OH

When machines can tell us what we can and cannot do, we are doomed.

We already have many machines telling us what we can and cannot do....


I can see some of those that will almost certainly go away, specifically, bus drivers and train engineers. You don't think that vehicles will be self-piloting soon? Passenger vehicles already are.
As for pilots, what is the joke? That the next generation of airplanes will have a crew of two-a man and a dog. The man's job is to feed the dog, the dogs job is to bite the man if he tries to touch any of the controls.

Coach P
Provo, UT


Obviously, this is a national average. I have been teaching 25 years and my salary has not reached the median average reported in this article. I would imagine the average salary of a teacher in Utah is between 35-40K.

Draper, UT

When computer started to take over jobs there was fear that computers would take over the world. There are several movie from that era about just that. Others fear that only large corporations could afford computers and so small businesses would all be gone. Those fears didn't come true. In fact, the use of computers lead the longest period of economic expansion the world has ever seen. Robots will also NOT take over the world. IBM's Watson is amazing and will be a great tool, but it doesn't rival Human intelligence. Robots and tools like Watson will also lead us to great prosperity, and is something to be excited about, not feared. Along with this list of 15 jobs will be many more created to design, support, and maintain all the robots. Machines don't tell us what we can or can't do, they just pass on the message. Human's have real intelligence. Computer's will always be Artificial Intelligence. Although we will find ways to push those limits of AI, there always will be a limit.

Weed, CA

These jobs mentioned really do depend on the sophistication of the robots that are being developed. Sports director would not take much to design and would be really useful in knowing ones real weight and pulse etc by touch or, later perhaps by the sensory input.
I do not see many here that cannot be changed out; with the onset of driverless cars those jobs, if it was determined should happen, can already be replaced with that technology.
Teachers can be replaced also, technically speaking so the question is will the movers of tomorrow decide that live, real human contact and interaction for these jobs important; consider, before you answer this, how many children are already being taught by technological gadgets; consider the reality of the ability to make small toys that learn.. brother Johathon already talks about the things that will have to be considered in some of these career 'choices' and teaching is really one of them. Why not a doll or a small toy that a child carries around that has all of the classes recorded into it, with 'safe' video and communication capability with distant teachers?

Highland, UT


You forget the one thing that a human teacher has the ability to do that a "doll" cannot - monitor social interactions. How do you think education would happen if controlled all by automation? You could never have a group of kids without supervision - remember "Lord of the Flies"? Or even a single child unsupervised at home. Could you imagine a robo-nanny trying to get a kid to sit down and do schoolwork via computer or any other device? One of the most valuable things that is taught in schools today and through out history is the social and emotional interaction. Kids are taught how to survive and get along in the real world by interacting with adults and peers. The all encompassing role of the living, breathing teacher could never be replaced by a robot.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

I added up the number of jobs that those 15 professions provide. It's just over 5 million. That's a fixed number in the entire workforce, not what's available annually. If you want one of those jobs, you have to wait for someone to retire. (And even if you get one, with an average median annual salary of $49751, repaying student loans and supporting a family on one job is no cakewalk.)

Compare those job numbers to the 4.1 million born and the 3.3 million who graduate high school EVERY YEAR, more than half of whom go on to earn Bachelors degrees. Nearly 1 million people are earning post-graduate degrees annually.

We're going to need a lot more than 5 million "irreplaceable" jobs.

By the way, advances in technology are going to cut into even those jobs. We already see programs nibbling at the edges of PK-12 education, which by the way represents over half of those 5 million jobs.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments