The Future of Employment


Grandparents and parents are being advised to radically update the careers advice they give to children on the jobs that will earn the most money in future. Experts warn that it would be wrong to assume that today’s money-spinning vocations – such as banking, law or stockbroking – will remain the best paid jobs of the future.

In 10 to 20 years’ time the chances are that our jobs – and the way we work – will be very different, if predictions by leading futurologists are any guide. Job titles that do not exist now, such as a “vertical farmer” or a “body part maker”, could be mainstream professions, in much the same way that social media consultants have emerged in the past five years.

“All of these [ideas] spring from trends,” said James Bellini, a leading futurologist. “Britain’s population is ageing, and an older population will need different health care, for example.” Mr Bellini posited the idea of an elderly well-being consultant, who specialises in personalised care for older patients, or a memory augmentation surgeon who helps counter memory loss.

He also saw big changes in farming as food resources became scarce, with genetically modified crops becoming common and crops grown vertically in areas resembling multi-storey car parks to save space.

Ian Pearson, a futurologist who wrote You Tomorrow, sees job growth in the field of augmented reality, where the real world is overlaid with computer-generated images.

“When you look at a building it’s constrained by planning laws, but in cyberspace you can make it look however you want,” he said. “A company with a high street presence could make their shop look like Downton Abbey, or set it in a post-nuclear apocalypse environment.”

Mr Pearson also argued that the better technology gets, the more people will have to focus on their “human skills” to survive in the workforce. “As computers get more intelligent, the work that will take over will require human skills like leadership, motivation and compassion,” he said.

Karen Moloney, a futurologist and business psychologist, agreed. “The world will divide into those who understand technology and those who don’t,” she said. “Those who can program will create the world we live in, so I would say get yourself into that field. If you can’t, find yourself something to do that is hyper-human, which computers can’t do, such as entertainment, sport, caring and personal services industries.”

Ms Moloney suggested job titles such as a haptic programmer, who uses the science of touch to develop products and services, and, more controversially, a child programmer.

“If we continue to avail ourselves of what science makes possible, in 30 years’ time you could sit down and in theory design the child you want,” she said. “It is biologically feasible, if ethically abhorrent. We spot weak signals on the horizon that may or may not grow into something. You’ve got to have a bit of imagination to create a future for yourself.”

Whatever professions may emerge in future, economists, recruitment specialists and futurologists agree that the way we work will change considerably.

Source; The Telegraph