#MacroSW Chat 5/10/2018: Social Work is a Robot-Proof Career

Social Work, Technology

View chat transcript. 

A McKinsey study in November 2017 stated technology could replace up to 375 million employees worldwide by 2030. Jobs in the social work profession won’t necessarily be caught up in the automation movement.

As newly minted MSWs charge into the workplace after graduation this spring, they can be assured a secure place in the current job market.  Although technology may be shifting and disrupting how social work practice is operationalized, this McKinsey study also shared that careers which rely on empathy or creativity at work can expect to have job security. The social work profession is perfectly positioned for the long haul.

Join us on Thursday, May 10 at 9 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. Pacific) for the #MacroSW chat to discuss the staying power of our profession and how we will continue to incorporate technology into our practice.

If you saw the movie Hidden Figures about the African American women who were the human computers behind the space program, I think this scene where Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) could be a good analogy for social workers. Dorothy knew the IBM could replace her team’s computing skills so she trained her colleagues, “her girls,” to code and put them in a perfect position to run the IBM. Social workers too will find ourselves always evolving and re-positioning our skills but the in-person and creative essence of what social workers do will never change.

Questions we will explore:

  • In what instances have you used technology to enhance your work and practice?
  • Share examples of how technology will never replace social work skills.
  • What technology advances do you see coming that could be co-opted in social work practice?
  • What technology-related curriculum should be added to our master’s and bachelor level programs?


What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages, McKinsey Study, Nov. 2017

Robots could replace nearly a third of the U.S. workforce by 2030, Washington Post

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