With technological developments and workplace trends changing at an ever rapid pace, people considering their future career prospects can be forgiven for struggling to make sense of the direction they should take. Indeed, as certain roles become obsolete, job seekers are almost being asked to predict the future when settling on a decision.
Luckily, some things are easier to foresee than others. While ads for jobs that soon may exist, such as vertical farming, avatar management and “omnipotence delimiting” are yet to appear on your favourite job listing sites, the industries that are predicted to grow and thrive over the next 20 years and beyond are more quantifiable; some are even quite traditional.
So if you’re worried about what to do with the rest of your working life as we dive headfirst into the unknown, have no fear; here are the 11 best jobs for the future!
1. School Teacher
School teachers are already highly sought after in the US and the UK – as well as further afield – and this demand is only set to increase as populations rise and public departments struggle to recruit and retain personnel. New teachers are urgently required in STEM subjects in particular, with large-scale growth also predicted for elementary teachers in the US.
Even with the widespread availability of information online, teachers will always be required to relate concepts and develop and engage on a personal level with students; if you think you could handle the stress levels associated with this challenging but highly rewarding profession, it looks a pretty safe bet.
The same can be said for nurses, who always find themselves in high demand all over the world, but especially in the UK and the US. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report that Registered Nurse is one of the fastest growing professions, while The Telegraph recently claimed that a staggering 96 per cent of UK hospitals are short of nursing staff – a statistic that has seen it put on the government’s official occupations shortage list.
Things are only set to get worse too, with an increasingly ageing population – and the subsequent public health issues this creates – putting a huge strain on healthcare resources. So if you fancy the challenge of this hugely rewarding and increasingly professionalised job, then there will certainly be a place for you.
3. Software Developer
Jobs in IT are already plentiful, with an increasingly technologized world requiring more and more knowledgeable and experienced engineers to ensure everything works smoothly. Tasked with designing, developing and maintaining software and networks amongst other things, software developers command good salaries and are employed by the biggest and best companies in the world such as Google, Apple and Facebook.
Indeed, being able to code will soon be a common and essential skill on everyone’s CV, regardless of their field; General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has already announced that all new hires at the engineering conglomerate will be taught how to code. If you want to get a headstart on the competition, software development is the best place to start.
Due to the aforementioned health risks attributed to ageing populations, the effects of unhealthy lifestyles, and the increased physical activity of the younger generation, physiotherapy (or physical therapy as it is known in the US) is another healthcare profession where the future looks secure – a sentiment backed up by both the BLS and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).
There is great flexibility within physiotherapy too, with kinder working hours than other medical professionals and the option to work privately or through the NHS in the UK. With good salaries on offer on both sides of the Atlantic, this is a very sensible career move for anyone interested in healthcare.
5. Information / Computer Systems Analyst
Similar to software developers, information and computer systems technicians are going to find their services very much in demand over the next 20 years, as networks and communications systems are built, managed and maintained. Unlike software developers though, the jobs net is much wider – essentially any company that uses computers to manage information will require the services of a systems analyst.
The BLS has predicted its growth as much higher than the average occupation in the US, and this is a great time to get involved in an already thriving industry. As jobs go, they don’t get much more future proof than this.
It is unlikely that there will ever be a time where doctors are not needed; the sheer breadth and importance of the profession means that no matter the advances in technology, doctors will always be required to bridge that gap between knowledge and care.
Depending on your chosen specialisation, salaries for doctors are amongst the highest in the US and UK, and there are opportunities to work all over the world. If you are smart enough and committed enough, this is a career that offers security, status and importantly – longevity.
7. App Developer
Application – or app – developers are essentially software developers, but generally speaking the term refers to those who create and manage mobile apps – a totally different environment to traditional desktop programmes.
Although much of the technical skills are the same, the challenges are different. Unlike desktop development, resources such as memory, storage and bandwidth are scarce on mobile phones, and the development platforms that designers use take more time to learn and master. The sheer amount of people using apps on Android, iOS and, increasingly, other mobile operating systems though are proof that this is a job that is moving with the times.
8. Data Analyst
As we delve deeper into the digital age, data analysis is becoming an increasingly more common term in every industry – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. As information behemoths such as Google, Microsoft and Apple become more and more interested in people’s data – and what they can do with it – it brings a sharp focus onto what is likely to be the next generation’s most valuable currency. As Tesco ClubCard creator Clive Humby famously said all the way back in 2006: “Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it can’t really be used. It has to be broken down and analysed for it to have value”.
This is where data analysts come in. Usually coming from a mathematics, economics or business background, they are in huge demand at all kinds of private and public firms, who want their reams of information – known as big data – sorted and turned into something useful. If you have a knack for numbers and statistics, this is a highly recommended field to get into, as in years to come it will be an even more valued profession.
Although a broad term, engineers – like doctors – have been around for a very long time, and will continue to be key drivers of society in the future. In the coming years for example, specific types of engineering that will see growth are biochemical, robotics and materials engineers. This is a reaction to environmental concerns, as well as to drive research and development into technologies that can improve our way of life (technologies, ironically, that will likely cause the demise of many traditional professions).
There’s something comforting about the fact that regardless of how advanced and futuristic our landscape becomes, there will always be a plumber on hand (usually to turn up 20 minutes late and help himself to a cuppa). But the reality is plumbing is a great example of a trade – just like electricians – that we will always need and which will never fully be subject to extinction by technology.
This is because as well as the unpredictable nature of call outs (sometimes in remote areas), plumbers have to explain in simple terms to their customers what has gone wrong and what they need to do to fix it. So if you’re eyeing up an apprenticeship, but you’re worried about getting left behind in the workplace, don’t be – plumbing has one of the longest shelf lives of any job.
Martin Ford, an author and employment expert, believes that jobs that involve “genuine creativity” – such as being an artist or a designer – will struggle to be usurped by technology. This is because (currently at least) it is impossible for a computer to replicate the human inspiration or perception of art and design, as well as the more philosophical debate over whether something is actually art if it wasn’t created by a human.
He stipulates a caveat to this assumption though. “I can’t guarantee you that in 20 years a computer won’t be the most creative entity on the planet,” he says. “There are already computers that can paint original works of art. So in 20 years who knows how far it’s going to go?”
And that’s it. Hopefully this has given you a few ideas about choosing a career – you may have noticed a pattern for the increase in demand of STEM fields and healthcare professions, as well as careers that involve building and cultivating personal relationships with other people.
If none of those appeal to you though, don’t worry. A recent report by technology giants Dell claims that 85 per cent of the jobs that people will do in 2030 don’t exist yet; so if nothing on the list above grabs you, you can literally wait to see what the future has to offer.
Do you work in any of the above fields? If so, let us know in the comments…