The other night I was online paying something via
Internet banking and it struck me how normal it was now to have a bank account but have absolutely no contact with the people who work in the bank. It also struck me how simple it has been to eliminate so many “good” jobs in the banks industry using technology. When I was a kid my mother used to talk about people getting a “job for life” in the bank.
This is no more.
It’s with this in mind that a fascinating interview with the chief bottle-washer of the German bank Deutsche Bank caught my attention this morning. In the Financial Times John Cryan CEO of the bank said that robots will soon replace a large chunk of the bank’s workforce. He says he is planning to lay off a “big number” of employees and use technology to do what humans used to do.
This isn’t new, however the scale of the layoffs in the financial industry is likely to be huge. And the thing about the financial
industry is that it usually employs people on decent salaries. There are 10,000 of them down the road from me here in Dublin. This is a significant challenge not just for the State but for the people involved in particular.
It is not just in finance. Change is coming in all sectors at speeds some of us are not appreciating yet.
Bob Lutz, the former head of GM has just written that we are facing the end of the car. He said, “it saddens me but we are approaching the end of the automobile era”. Lutz says that driverless cars and car renting will destroy the old models where each household seeks to have two cars. People order and share self-driving cars. It’s an amazing picture painted by one of the key people in the industry.
The crucial aspect for all of us is to understand these trends. Nothing is safe. The industries like cars and banking that sustained us for years are over.
In the years ahead everyone’s going to have to become more risk-taking, more entrepreneurial and much less dependent on notions like singular “careers” and “good secure jobs”. We are all going to have many careers, many jobs and many bosses.
There’s nothing to be afraid of!