Jobs of the future

Working 9 to 5 as Dolly Parton once crooned is changing fast. Jobs come and they go. Chimney sweep once employed large numbers of young people. Not so now.

Many of today’s school children will work in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. That "eventually" day will arrive faster than you think. 

Many of today’s school children will work in jobs that haven't even been invented yet. That "eventually" day will arrive faster than you think.

Kiwi-born, Australian based futurologist Craig Rispin says opportunities for jobs in growth industries abound if young people are willing to think outside the square to grasp them.

He cites the example of a young man who used his existing skills in IT and reinvented himself as a "bioinformatics" specialist. Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field in need of new workers that uses computer science, statistics, mathematics and engineering to process biological data.

The two wider industries with most potential for a boom are life sciences and the services, says Rispin. The jobs will be vastly more varied than anyone can imagine. For example, in the service industry there will be jobs such as drone and robot managers.

Other jobs with bright futures include:

  • Future job 1: Data specialist. Every second of every day more and more data is collected electronically. Making money from this huge volume of data has become critical for business success. Hence data scientists, virtual environment managers, and collective intelligence officers will be in big demand.
  • Future job 2: Food chemist. Every year new food additives are invented. This is only going to increase with the advent of 3D printers, which can “print” new foods cheaply.
  • Future job 3: Foetal medicine specialist. Doctors can diagnose many illnesses in the womb. More and more parents will want, and be able to afford to have their baby treated before it’s born. There will be many more medical fields emerge in the future as we learn to treat new diseases. Others such as epidemiologists could become more important.
  • Future job 4: Front end developer. This job – also called front end web developer – is tipped for massive growth. Every business and organisation needs a website. But not just any website will do. Front end developers who understand how to make websites work for online customers are going to be in heavy demand.
  • Future job 5: Nursing and care professions. Some jobs just have to be done in person. Whilst a doctor could in theory give a diagnosis via video link, someone has to do the hands-on work with patients such as administer injections. With aging populations on both sides of the Tasman, we’re going to need more nurses, home care aides and rest home employees. Just because it’s a job of the future it doesn’t mean it will be well paid.

What matters, says Rispin, isn’t the exact job you’ll do. It’s preparing you for a vastly different world of work. It's all about executing the grand plan. Study a double degree, he says. Look at how many graduates in a course are actually getting jobs, and study and up skill yourself online at organisations such as the Singularity University where you can learn about disciplines of the future.