Career trends

Career trending: Where the jobs will be through 2020 and beyond

Peter Harris|

After researching job market shifts for the Thinkopolis labour report, we’ve taken a closer look at how to choose education and training for the job market of the next decade.

When planning for the future, it’s better to look at long term labour market trends, rather than currently ‘hot jobs’.

For example, right now, Social Media Experts are in high demand. That’s because the technology is new, and organizations are learning how best to use it to communicate with consumers. By the time the children of today enter the workforce, these tools will be ubiquitous – and a generation that grew up using them will all be adept – making ‘experts’ no longer necessary. (See: Ten disappearing jobs.)

One thing is clear, if a job can easily be automated, replaced by technology, then it probably will be. This is why we’re seeing the decline or disappearance of jobs such as toll booth operators and retail cashiers. Just last month, Amazon.com announced plans to start delivering packages with automated drones. This was followed by Canada Post announcing an end to door-to-door mail delivery service. This will only add to the trend that we’re already seeing in the decline of postal worker and courier jobs.

One of the things we’re seeing is the decline is unskilled work – or work that requires only one highly-specialized skill. People are being asked to perform a wider variety of complex tasks now. Communications skills, tech savvy, and constant learning will be increasingly required for jobs in all fields.

    Technology

    On the bright side of jobs being replaced by technology is that this means a boost in technology-related career options. Every new form of automation or robotics requires engineers and technicians to develop and maintain.

    The move from desktops and laptop to smart phones and tablets has created a current high demand for application developers and designers. So while we can’t predict exactly where technology will be at in 2020, but we can advise people to keep up with the latest trends and tools of their time. Everyone will have to be more ‘tech savvy.’ Workers will need to evolve their skills as technology also evolves.

    These same disruptive trends that phase out some jobs will lead to the creation of new ones.

    Healthcare

    The aging population will continue to require more workers in a wide range of medical professions. Doctors, obviously, will be in demand, but also Nurses, Healthcare Managers and Technicians, Pharmacists, Care-givers and Elder-care Coordinators.

    A mixture of healthcare and technology education would be a powerful combination. Biomedical engineering is expected to be one of the hottest fields over the coming decade.

    Alternately, learning both healthcare and business management skills could also lead to numerous career paths in hospitals, clinics, private care institutions and public health departments.

    Business and Finance

    Businesses will continue to seek new ways attract customers and understand market trends. Data analysts, and market researchers will continue to be hot career paths for the foreseeable future.

    Skilled sales people are always in demand. When making financial decisions, many people still like to talk to a human being and shake someone’s hand. That can’t be automated. For that same reason, financial advisors and financial services jobs will continue to be secure options.

    Evergreen professions

    There are also those career-paths that are always in demand and do not fluctuate as much with the times. These include jobs such as Teachers, Lawyers, Engineers, Dentists and Accountants.

    The skilled trades are also stable jobs that will always be needed. And not enough young people consider these options, which has led to an ongoing shortage of trades workers. This means numerous opportunities and higher wages for many skilled trades. The demand for Electricians, Welders, Carpenters, Construction workers and other trades people will be a constant.

If young people want to create a powerful career path, one where they have the option to be their own boss, they can’t go wrong with an education that includes technology, and business management or marketing – along with obtaining an expertise at one of the skilled trades.

This kind of cross-disciplinary education is going to be the key to future success. An engineer with technical wizardry may be a genius at what they do, but an engineer with solid technical abilities as well as advanced communications skills is a rock star.

Critical thinking and problem solving skills also cannot be automated. The best paid and most secure jobs will go to people with solid analytic and interactive abilities.

See also: Preparing for the 20 most in-demand jobs from now through 2020
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Peter Harris
- Peter Harris on Twitter


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