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3 Business Careers That Are Safe From Automation

Nov 20, 2019

The insurance, marketing, and management fields are attractive to graduates looking for their first jobs. And their markets look good: many roles in these fields are booming and offer opportunities for new grads looking to create long, fulfilling careers as fears about job loss due to automation rise.

While many new grads are concerned about automation's effect on job opportunities, The Brookings Institution notes that jobs in business and management are far less at risk of being automated than are jobs in industries such as production and food service.

Here's a look at three common roles in business fields and the potential for advancement in each.

1. Insurance sales agent.

Homeowner's insurance. Health insurance. Life insurance. Automobile insurance. Americans have a lot of insurance—more than $1.2 trillion in premiums in 2017 alone, the Insurance Information Institute reports. Insurance sales agents sell these policies for insurance companies and earn a commission on their sales.

Entry-level insurance careers.

You don't need a college degree to be an entry-level insurance agent, but earning one can help you land a job. And if you want to work in management, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree.

Because insurance agents work on commission, they can make good money. The median pay is $50,600, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—an attractive salary for most new graduates.

If you want a regular salary—one that isn't contingent upon unpredictable commissions—consider being a claims adjuster. Claims adjusters inspect and evaluate damage done to cars, homes, or people and create an insurance coverage report based on their assessments.

More insurance agencies and claims adjusters are using automated underwriting software to evaluate damage and manage claims. But even with these automated processes, insurance agencies need people to develop and update the criteria the software uses, and they need employees with the analytical skills to make decisions during claims intake and processing.

Career advancement in the insurance business.

With a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in insurance under your belt, you could graduate from insurance agent or claims adjuster to sales managers, where you'll create high-level sales strategies and lead sales teams. Insurance sales managers make about $154,000 a year, on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An MBA can mean even more prestigious positions and higher salaries.

2. Market research analyst.

Market research analysts identify trends and build relationships with customers to promote and sell products in a wide range of industries. They use statistical software to analyze data as they consistently track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Because market research analysts work in so many sectors, there's a high demand for employees; the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of market research jobs to grow 20 percent by 2028.

Entry-level market research analyst careers.

You'll need a bachelor's degree—preferably one with an emphasis on statistics—for an entry-level job as a marketing research analyst. Entry-level employees gain experience by performing administrative tasks and assisting in data collection and analysis, and they make about $58,000 a year, according to Glassdoor.

Market research analyst isn't the only entry-level marketing position open to someone with a bachelor's degree. For instance, marketing coordinators help develop and market campaigns, and inside and outside sales representatives drive client satisfaction in the office and on the road.

While advertising and marketing platforms are becoming more able to optimize and execute campaigns automatically, there remains a need for people with strategic and critical analysis skills to manage the process.

Career advancement in market research.

Marketing research managers oversee teams of analysts; they typically have several years of experience in the field. Getting farther up the ladder—say, into an upper-management position such as vice president of sales—is predicated on having a graduate degree. An MBA program teaches the leadership and management skills you'll need to be successful at the top of the ladder.

3. Management consultants.

Businesses spent $58.7 billion on management consulting in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, in the hopes of improving efficiency and increasing profitability. Consultants evaluate operations by examining financial records, observing employees, and gathering data. They then analyze the data to develop strategies to help businesses make more money. Consultants might, for example, suggest restructuring departments, hiring new employees, or updating policies and procedures.

Entry-level management consultant jobs.

Consulting firms hire employees to help clients be more efficient and profitable; entry-level consultant jobs almost always require a bachelor's degree in business or a related area. Consultants often work in teams and could spend a lot of time traveling. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available management consultant roles will grow by 14 percent by 2028, especially in cybersecurity and healthcare management fields. Management consultants make about $87,000 a year, on average, PayScale reports.

Automation has yielded many tools and software solutions that have made consulting firms more efficient. Clients might find it cheaper to automate tasks usually handled by consulting firms, but that hasn't hindered the job growth in this field. Consultants spend less time on administrative tasks and data management, making them desirable to many businesses.

Career advancement for management consultants.

Competition for management consultant positions is high. One way to ensure entry in the field is to earn an MBA. Experienced consultants can work on a freelance basis, contracting with businesses that want their services. Senior-level consultants can become partners in their consulting firms, find senior management positions at other firms, or start their own.

People pursuing positions in insurance, market research, and management consulting have bright futures. Despite advancements in automation, you can still spend your entire career in business fields. Earning advanced degrees, gaining invaluable hands-on experience, and obtaining the right certifications can help you move through the ranks.

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