A successful remote career in the time of AI
3 min read

A successful remote career in the time of AI

Today, I'll address a couple frequent questions I get in my Twitter DMs: • Are remote workers more exposed to layoffs? • Will companies replace remote workers with AI tools?


I'm Sergio Pereira, and this is the Remote Work newsletter 👋

Last week, I told you about the parts of the remote job search that you could automate, to widen your funnel and increase your chances of landing the remote job you're looking for. 

Today, I'll address a couple frequent questions I get in my Twitter DMs:

• Are remote workers more exposed to layoffs?

• Will companies replace remote workers with AI tools?

I think the broader questions there is about the future we're seeing unfold before our eyes, which contains a few novelties:

• Reduced access to funding,

• Industry-wide layoffs and smaller teams on average,

• AI tools that can replace many human tasks.


Sometimes, technology destroying jobs ends up creating more of the same jobs. As counterintuitive as it may sound, that happened over the last 50 years as ATM machines became ubiquitous.

ATM Technology created more bank teller jobs than the ones it wiped out

It became cheaper than ever to open bank branches, which led to competition in the space, with more bank branches getting opened which led to more bank teller jobs being created than those that had been destroyed.

See, more businesses got created, with smaller teams on average. Technology replaced part of the process, but businesses doubled down on human employees for the parts that couldn't be replaced, since they wanted to fuel the growth of the business in such a competitive environment. 

I see a clear parallel with software development and most digital career tracks these days. AI tools will certainly take a good part of the process, but that will make it cheaper than ever to launch tech products, which is very likely to foster more business to being created which will need to hire capable people to handle the parts of the work that AI can't do.


As a remote worker, these are 3 things I recommend to make yourself more valuable in this upcoming future work environment:

1/ Learn both business and technical skills

The greater value lies in the intersection of those. While tools will be able to handle technical tasks and transactional workflows (like the ATM dispenses cash 24/7), it will be your task to handle the nuanced and undefined parts of the work.

A solid understanding of the business, the clients and what product-market-fit looks like for that combo is key for any role, I'd say.


2/ Avoid the people management trap

In a world with increasing automation, teams will continue shrinking in average size. More % of the business world will be SMBs. As such, people with experience of managing dozens of hundreds of people will be at a disadvantage, since those people management skills will be less valuable in the new business context.

On the other hand, people in sales management roles, or products management roles, that have been close to clients and the business' revenue lines will be able to translate those skills nicely.


3/ Be active on the hiring market

With layoffs across the industry, and new startups getting created every day, it's more important than ever to have constant footing in the jobs market. On one hand, it important to understand what skills and experiences are being valued by employers.

But more importantly, going to interviews on a frequent basis builds a sense of anti-fragility. That's the flip side of the anxiety triggered by layoff announcements. Fortunately, AI can help there too. Tools like the Jobs Copilot can automate the boring repetitive tasks of searching for job openings and applying to them, so you focus only on the interviews.

With all this in mind, let's address those initial questions:

• Are remote workers more exposed to layoffs?

Well, no one is safe from layoffs. Big companies will decrease their headcount, and I'd expect that to continue happening throughout 2024, unfortunately. That will hit remote workers, just like office-based employees. If anything, those with contractor agreements could be hit more than their colleagues with local employment contracts.

• Will companies replace remote workers with AI tools?

Companies will continually seek profit. That has meant replacing expensive US-based employees for remote workers across LATAM, Europe and Asia for the recent years, and will continue to happen (thus the popularity of location-indexed salaries). Once there are AI tools that will do parts of the job for a cheaper price, it's likely that many companies will adopt those too.

I hope the ATM example showed you that there's another way to look at these market dynamics, way beyond just getting anxious about losing your job. In fact, there are many great opportunities out there, including thousands of companies hiring remote roles, just like I'm seeing from the members of the Remote Jobs Braintrust. If you're looking for a new remote job go ahead and join us for the February cohort.


Thanks for reading this newsletter until the end. You can read all past editions here. Make sure to share it with your friends and colleagues so they can read it too.

See you next Friday,

Sergio Pereira, 
Startup CTO & Remote Work Lover

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