SOURCE: Firing Line with Bill Kutik

Firing Line with Bill Kutik

January 12, 2016 07:00 ET

Becoming Obsolete on the Job Is Biggest Workplace Fear, Author and Futurist Tells 'Firing Line with Bill Kutik'

Karie Willyerd's New Book 'Stretch' Reports Digital Disruption Could Cut Nearly 50 Percent of Existing Jobs in Coming Decade

WESTPORT, CT--(Marketwired - Jan 12, 2016) - Karie Willyerd, co-author of the new book "Stretch" and Workplace Futurist for SAP SuccessFactors, tells "Firing Line with Bill Kutik®" that the biggest fear people have about their jobs is becoming obsolete. Willyerd shares her insights in the latest episode of the YouTube video series debuting today.

In the first of a two-part series on the future of work, Willyerd tells Kutik that research for the book validated that people fear being made obsolete on the job by robots, automated systems, smarter software and other innovations, and that this digital disruption could cut up to 50 percent of existing jobs in the decade to come.

Responding to a question by Kutik about a pervasive feeling in the workplace that people have a "sell-by" date stamped on their foreheads like a milk carton, Willyerd says that a study with Oxford University Economics yielded surprising results. People's biggest worry about their jobs is not about economic uncertainty or making progress in their pay -- it's the fear of becoming obsolete.

In a sense this is a good fear to have, Willyerd explains, because technology is changing so much.

Willyerd adds that Oxford University found nearly half of workers have jobs that are vulnerable to replacement by automation in the coming decade. And this is true all the way through the job spectrum, she notes, not just in low-level jobs.

She adds it's a good fear for people to have. It is not being paranoid, there is a robot coming after them.

Part Two of the "Firing Line" conversation, which will air in the spring, focuses on how people can stay relevant and advance their careers in the increasingly turbulent workplace of tomorrow.

"The idea that we all have a 'sell-by' date is truly startling," Kutik said. "It's another example of the kind of hard insight that 'Firing Line' brings to its audience with every episode. I know people will be interested in hearing Karie Willyerd's prescription for extending their 'shelf lives,' which she'll share in the second part of our conversation."

The monthly "Firing Line" series has received more than 30,000 views on YouTube since its debut last February. Watch the new episode at

Read more about "Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow's Workplace" by Karie Willyerd and Barbara Mistick.

SAP (NYSE: SAP) is the inaugural sponsor of "Firing Line with Bill Kutik®," and other vendors will be sponsoring in the future.

About Bill Kutik

As the HR industry's leading independent analyst, Bill Kutik is considered one of the top four influencers in the HR technology marketplace. For 26 years, he has been Technology Columnist for "Human Resource Executive®" and served as founding co-chair of the magazine's famous annual HR Technology® Conference & Expo, since it began in 1998 through 2013.

The Bill Kutik Radio Show®, a biweekly online talk show with industry leaders, now has 183 programs in the archive available for listening on-demand at Kutik has also created and moderated 107 industry panels.

In 2012, Human Resource Executive named him one of the 10 "Most Powerful HR Technology Experts" and The Huffington Post in 2013 listed him in "Top 100 Social HR Experts on Twitter."

Previously, he reported for "The New York Times" and "The New York Daily News." He has a BA degree from Harvard University. He can be reached at