Parents of today’s kindergarteners should think about prodding them towards a career in the medical field.
Those are the findings of the latest MLIV Pulse survey with 678 respondents. About 40 per cent said that children currently in elementary school would be best off with a job in health care if they want to avoid being displaced by artificial intelligence.
Jobs in the medical fields often involve much more human-to-human interaction, which for now seem hard to replace with generative AI programmes such as ChatGPT.
Demographic trends may also be supporting the idea that becoming a doctor or a nurse will be a wiser choice for the youngest generation. Economists forecast massive demand for healthcare workers as the population ages in the US and around the world.
Investors have a different recommendation for those graduating from high school. Those pupils would be best off pursuing a career in tech, despite recent layoffs at Meta Platforms, Amazon and Alphabet.
Tech savvy is seen as ever more important in a world increasingly influenced by digital platforms, even as some worry AI may pose a threat to some entry-level jobs.
“The highest paying jobs were so clearly in the finance sector for two or three decades, and now tech is really competitive with that — they’re kind of neck and neck,” said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of human resources consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Even with the rise of AI, Mr Challenger expects tech and finance to remain among the most lucrative careers for the next 20 or 30 years.
“I don’t see that going away,” he said.
About 52 per cent of 556 professional investors said that technology is the way to go for high school pupils. Among 122 retail investors, 48 per cent voted for tech.
Recent hiring trends support the results. While the current downturn has hit both Big Tech and Silicon Valley start-ups hard, recruiters in traditional industries — from car makers to the federal government — have rushed to snap up laid-off tech talent and new graduates.
These days, every company is a tech company, as the saying goes.
Part of the perception that the grass is greener in Silicon Valley may also stem from the way that tech has transformed the inner workings of Wall Street.
“There are lots of people that have brilliant financial minds, and yet they can't put into effect a trading strategy without relying on serious programmers to come in and actually implement it because it's moved past human beings in some ways,” Mr Challenger said.
“I can see why they feel that threat.”
As for the potential impact of AI on Wall Street, only 12 per cent said finance would be the best career option for today’s kindergarteners.
While a previous MLIV Pulse survey found that most finance professionals were confident AI would not replace them in the next three years, that confidence appears to falter over a longer time horizon.
A recent Goldman Sachs report estimated that some 300 million full-time jobs worldwide may soon be affected by AI automation.
Significant layoffs as UBS absorbs Credit Suisse, combined with earlier job-cut announcements from Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs is likely to have made the respondents lukewarm about careers in finance.
The KBW Bank Index is down about 18 per cent year-to-date compared to the S&P 500 up more than 7 per cent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 is up about 20 per cent.
First-quarter bank earnings kicked off on Friday as JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reeled in windfalls from higher interest rates that upended smaller lenders last month. But even the big lenders signalled caution, including on the hiring front.
While JP Morgan hired more people, the bank plans to keep headcount flat over the rest of the year and expressed caution regarding more buy-backs.
Most survey respondents said an undergraduate degree is still worthwhile, despite the considerable investment of time and money. Still, some suggested that going to trade school to become a carpenter, electrician or plumber — jobs which cannot be easily outsourced or automated — might be a path worth pursuing.