Help, a Robot Took My Sales Job! [Research]

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Emma Brudner
Emma Brudner



In 1949, Willy Loman was the quintessential salesperson. In 2049, will it be WILL3 BotMan?

New research from Oxford University and Deloitte suggests that this just might be the case. After analyzing hundreds of jobs, the organizations affixed a probability that robot labor would replace human labor to each. And depending on what type of salesperson you are, the results are either reassuring, or disastrous.

"Telephone salesperson" was the single most likely job to be taken over by robots, according to the research, with a 99% probability of automation. Telemarketers, you might want to start looking for another line of work.

Retail sales workers are also almost certain to be replaced by automation, with a 94% probability rating. The chances of a robot revolution shrunk considerably with "sales related workers" (51%), "sales supervisor" (28%), and "sales accounts and business development managers" (16%).

Don't like your odds? You can do something about it. 

A BBC article on the results noted that "roles requiring employees to think on their feet and come up with creative and original ideas hold a significant advantage in the face of automation. Additionally, occupations involving tasks that require a high degree of social intelligence and negotiating skills are considerably less at risk from machines."

With this in mind, take a hard look at your job. Do you help customers make complicated decisions and provide them with ideas, or are your interactions more transactional? If you find yourself on the latter end of this spectrum, strive to be more consultative in how you approach your work (or perhaps join a new company or pursue a different role that affords you this option).

Alternatively, you can change careers altogether. Check out this interactive tool to discover the jobs most and least likely to be taken over by robots. Speech therapist and educational professional are sounding like pretty solid options right about now.

Are you worried automation will put you out of a job? Why or why not?

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