Maze 2

The Uncertain Future of Work

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Confused by the “changing nature of work” and the predictions that old skills and current skills will not secure your (or your children’s) futures?

I was too!

So, as a result, I surveyed the topic of Careers of the Future and Future Work. What did I find? On initial glance, it appears that the future looks very much like the present and that no-one really agrees or knows how things are going to change.

However, after delving a bit deeper, it is clear that there are changes coming, and if you are capable of securing a Higher Education you may be able to secure yourself a job in one of the new fields that are now starting to develop.

Where are Most of the Jobs? (UK Trends)

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills predicts that Care Workers, followed by Nurses will be the occupations with the largest numbers in employment – with 729k Care Workers and 628k Nurses. Behind these are Sales Account Managers & Business Development Managers with 436k and Secondary School Teachers with 420k jobs.

These absolute numbers do not necessarily indicate the best prospects for employment, however. According to UKCES the best prospects lie with higher skilled management, professional, associate professional, and technical operations – along with jobs in the lower-skilled caring and customer service related operations.

Looking for Something New?

New Jobs – something unusual?

The Telegraph focused its attention to the potential new jobs of the future; including Digital Architect, nano-medic, body part maker, child designer (I’m not sure of the ethics with this one!) and personal branding manager. Time will tell whether these jobs will become reality. It is certain, though, that proficiency with information technology will be a must for almost all jobs in the future.

Future Jobs – where the growth is

Forbes highlight “6 High-Paying Jobs of the Future”. The choice of “Logistician” is an interesting start point. These are described as the people who use complex computer software to track the movement of goods and products. A key reason why they predict its growth in importance is the expected growth in pilotless drones and also driverless cars.

One that might appeal to fans of the 1983 movie “WarGames” and every more modern take on the genre since, is the job of “Ethical Hacker”. What does this mean? You will get paid by a company to hack into their systems and spot weaknesses – so that they can be fixed before a less ethical hacker exploits them. Why will this be so important? Simply because security and privacy concerns are not going away anytime soon.

“Actuary” makes the number 3 spot. These are the folks that assess risk and attach a $ value to it. Potential employers include banks, governments, consulting firms and insurance companies. Key to the growth in these jobs are the upcoming changes in the healthcare industry.

Related to the growth in actuarial jobs is the growth in “Epidemiologist” jobs. These work to uncover the patterns and causes of disease and injury in human populations. Forbes cite increases in government hiring as the main reason for future increased demand.

“Front End Engineer” sounds like someone who designs cockpits or car bonnets, but it isn’t. If you are not close to the world of web design then you probably won’t have heard of this job. These are also called front end web developers. Growth in these jobs is higher than for web developers in general because of the criticality of the website home page, which is often the customer’s first impression of the company.

The last job on the Forbes list is “Food Chemist”. In this job you will figure out how to make the perfect cupcake, pancake or even chocolate cake. What is going to drive this growth? Perhaps a little surprisingly, it is 3D printing. Apparently NASA is already looking into how food printers would work on space missions. The downside, you will need a Ph.D. in order to be able to work in this baking hot field!

In Conclusion

Puns aside, I conclude that although I did not find agreement on what the jobs of the future will be, I discovered that your choice and direction will largely depend on whether you want to go into:

  • a stable growing traditional field (such as described by UKCES);
  • a niche, but very new field – with high risk, potential high return (such as the Telegraph list of jobs);
  • a high growth field which develops traditional jobs into future-ready careers (such as the Forbes list).

There are many other lists, reports, surveys and commentaries. However, if you are looking to train for a job that provides prospects, I am sure that the above considerations and groupings will prove to be useful. It may change your job seeking actions now, but it should help to shape you future thinking on training and career planning.

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