Digital Tools Becoming Part of the Typical Workday


Forget about the robots taking over the workforce: it turns out the technology revolution is right in your hand.

Digital tools are rapidly becoming part of our workday.

Technology is now part of the workplace at nearly every type of occupation. Even if the robots haven't taken over yet, hand-held devices have certainly worked their way into our shifts.

A new study has looked at 545 occupations as they've evolved in the 21st century ... and found that the use of digital tools has increased, often dramatically, in 95 percent of all jobs.

That includes lower-skilled occupations ... like warehouse workers. They don't just move freight nowadays -- they use handheld devices to track inventories.

Other workers getting used to more digital tools include roofers, engine assemblers and parking attendants.

“Between 2002 and 2016, the shares of U.S. jobs that require substantial digital knowledge rose rapidly, mostly due to large changes in the digital content of existing occupations,” the Brookings study finds. “Workers of every stripe -- from corporate finance officers to sales people to utility workers and nurses -- are now spending sizable portions of their workdays using tools that require digital skills.”

How dramatically have digital tools encroached?

“In 2002, 56 percent of the jobs studied required low amounts of digital skills. Nearly 40 percent of jobs required medium digital skills and just 5 percent required high digital skills,” the study notes.

A lot has changed. By 2016, the share of jobs requiring high digital skills had jumped to 23 percent. The share requiring medium digital skills rose to 48 percent. And in a huge shift, the share of jobs requiring low digital skills fell from 56 to 30 percent.

Tech experts there's still an initial reluctance about new tech in their daily lives, but that people have grown to accept elements that are familiar – such as robotics, handheld devices and e-commerce.

The study found that even traditionally unplugged jobs now have a tech component ... including roofers, warehouse order fillers and parking lot attendants.


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