The future of work - where will the jobs come from?

Timandra Harkness claims futures jobs are more susceptible to automation than the vast majority of people realise
Naomi McMullan

MUCH has been made about technological advances in the office. Ironically it means we don't even need an office any more as remote working is seemingly easier and more accessible than ever.

Though where will the inevitable march of progress take us? Will robots really steal our jobs? Could a lot of the work we do now, potentially be replaced by artificial intelligence?

Timandra Harkness presents a programme on Radio 4 on future proofing. The Profit Margin ( up with her at the recent Women in Business conference in Belfast, and she makes the point that a lot of jobs are more susceptible to automation than the vast majority of people realise.

Ultimately though she believes there will always be a place for human creativitiy, instinct and intuition, in particular when it comes to developing new products. You can listen to her interview in our podcast and find out which sectors she thinks are most vulnerable to the march of machines.

There are also more immediate pressing concerns about how the current workforce is changing. How do we deal with the demographics of an ageing workforce as the retirement age is pushed up, plus how do hold onto millennials once you've invested in them?

Dr Nicola Millard is head of customer insight and futures at BT. A psychologist by background, she has tips around how to retain staff and build trust between the generations.

One women looking for feedback from firms in Northern Ireland is Dr Ruth McKernan, the new CEO of innovate UK. Their job is to find and drive the technology innovations that will grow our economy. In fact, Innovate UK is going to appoint a regional manager in Northern Ireland.

On her first official visit to Belfast in her new capacity, you can hear how Ruth thinks Northern Ireland compares to the rest of the UK in terms of innovation.

:: You can listen to the Profit Margin at

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