Top 10 Careers That Cannot Be Replaced by Automation

The revolution of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics is sounding the alarm for the future of employment and economic opportunities. Automation and artificial intelligence affect people and places, offering both the benefits of economic growth and innovation, as well as potentially adverse effects, such as job and labor replacement. An Oxford Economics report on how robots are changing the world estimates that nearly 20 million manufacturing jobs will be replaced, that lower-income job holders will be disproportionately affected, and that income inequality could be vastly exacerbated. 


However, there are service-focused industries and careers that demand human abilities such as compassion, intelligence, imagination, empathy, creativity, social intelligence, and other cognitive skills that have yet to be translated into algorithms. These jobs are more likely to remain secure in a daunting future with automation on the rise. The following list of careers will more than likely require and maintain a human at the helm while technology continues to expand into uncharted waters.


Makeup Artists

Makeup artistry is a versatile career with opportunities to work in a variety of settings, including theatre, film, salons, studios, weddings, events, or personal makeup. In applying makeup to clients, makeup artists use analytical and creative skills to select the appropriate colors and tools to emphasize a person’s characteristics. On the other hand, some makeup artists require an artistic eye and specialized courses for special effects and character creation.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for makeup artists is expected to increase at a faster-than-average rate, with an annual average income of $75,730. To become a makeup artist you must be admitted to a makeup institute, earn a certain amount of application hours, and depending on the state, may need to obtain certification from a diploma program.


Writing is an extensive and diverse field. Writer occupations range in industry and type; from screen, blog, and novel writing, to journalism or technical writing. Whatever the field, writers must be capable of commanding language, research, conceptualizing, pinpointing, and addressing a target audience. 

Career Outlook

The outlook for writers and authors is projected to decline slightly but has a median pay range of $63,000 per year.  The outlook for technical writers is projected to grow at a faster-than-average rate, with a median pay of $72,580 per year. To become a writer — technical or otherwise — typically requires a college degree with knowledge, experience, or expertise in the subject matter.


Hairdressers and barbers provide a variety of treatments and styling for hair. This can include cut and styling or treatments such as permanents, straightening, or coloring. Professional hairdressers offer styling, shaping, maintenance, and care advice to their clients, and typically require dexterity in their hands and physical stamina to stand for long hours. 

Career Outlook

The outlook for hairstylists and barbers is projected to decline very slightly over the next decade, with a median annual salary of $26,270 per year. To become a hairstylist or barber typical entails a state-licensed program and the completion of any required hours. Some states may require continuing education hours to maintain a license.

Maintenance Workers

General maintenance and repair workers work in a variety of locations and typically have a general expertise of the functions and working components of different buildings, both commercial and housing. Of the many tasks that maintenance workers perform, they are often talented and skilled at analysis and problem-solving.

Career Outlook

The outlook for general maintenance and repair workers is increasing at an average rate. Maintenance and repair workers may expect to make a median pay of $39,080 per annum. To become a maintenance and repair worker typically requires on-the-job training with supervision from a seasoned maintenance worker. As the trainee builds skills and expertise, they may begin to take on more difficult projects or may choose an entrepreneurial route.



Teachers work in the classroom with people of all ages. A career in teaching can be extremely rewarding as teachers work to build student skills in academia, socialization, and behavior, as well as how to build and work towards goals. This job requires high levels of empathy and human understanding to foster learning spaces and relationships with students. 

Career Outlook

The job outlook for teacher ranges depending on student age groups and specialization:



Becoming a teacher typically requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college. Teachers must also pass entrance exams and educator tests to receive state-level certification. Some states may require continuing education coursework and credits for teachers to maintain their certification.


Therapists and psychologists provide emotional support services to help people overcome problems. This job requires deep listening skills and the ability to empathize and offer a safe non-judgemental space. Therapists and psychologists may work in private practice, or collaboratively on a healthcare team, alongside social workers, or in school settings. 

Career Outlook

The career outlook for therapists and psychologists is rising at an average rate with a median annual salary of $80,370. To become a psychologist or therapist typically requires higher education at a master’s or doctoral degree level, completion of clinical hours, and licensure.

Healthcare Workers

Employment opportunities in healthcare often require the ability to assess, support, and provide a level of treatment or assistance to patients. Healthcare professionals rely heavily on their soft skills and abilities to connect with patients and to foster healing and treatment adherence. These soft skills may include an ability to communicate and work on a team, adaptability, analytical and problem-solving skills, and high levels of compassion and empathy.

Career Outlook

Employment in healthcare occupations is expected to grow much faster than the national average and boast competitive wages. Most healthcare positions require at minimum an associate’s degree, but depending on the level of expertise may require a medical or professional doctoral degree.


The crutch to almost every business regardless of scale is its ability to market and get products in front of consumers. Advertising and marketing jobs require the ability to creatively strategize, design, and carry out marketing campaigns, and track the results of the promotion. Advertising and marketing require the ability to communicate and comprehend consumer needs and pain points, as well as how to navigate public relationships. 

Career Outlook

The employment outlook for advertising, promoting, and marketing managers and specialists is growing at an above-average rate, with a median salary of $135,900 per year. To start a career in advertising, prospective marketers must typically earn a bachelor’s degree or higher. Many marketing jobs also require experience that can be earned in an internship or lower-level marketing position. 


Retail sales workers work in stores and provide purchasing support and knowledge about products and their applications for customers. Though much of retail has shifted to online purchases, some retailers are staying or moving to brick-and-mortar locations. Sales associates positions in retail often require soft interpersonal skills such as high levels of communication, respect, and friendliness. They may also need skills in persuasion and empathy. 

Career Outlook

The career outlook for retail sales workers is remaining steadfast with no deficit or growth. The average pay for retail sales workers is $25,440 per year. There are typically no education requirements for a retail sales position. Many retail sales workers can gain on-the-job experience and training from their employers.

HR Managers

Human resources managers provide employment and benefits support to employees of a company. This typically includes overseeing and ensuring that employees receive compensation and benefits. HR managers also oversee workplace safety and employee rights, manage employee records, and may attend or evaluate employee hiring, training, procedures, evaluation, and labor relations. Human resources managers often require soft skills that help them to connect and communicate with the company’s labor force. They need high levels of communication and teamwork skills, empathy, problem-solving, and the ability to demonstrate leadership and trustworthiness.

Career Outlook

The employment outlook for human resources managers is projected to grow faster than average. Human resources managers may expect to earn a median salary of $116,720. Becoming an HR manager typically requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources to learn more about labor management, compensation, employee development, and employee and labor laws. 


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