What Are the Jobs of the Future? (& How to Ensure Your Job Isn’t Replaced by Robots)
This article consists of 2 parts:
- Part 1: How to ensure your career is safe from automation/AI.
- Part 2: A look at the jobs of the future.
How to Ensure Your Career is Safe From Automation/AI
Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s not just blue collar jobs — like burger flipping at McDonald’s — that are likely to be threatened by automation and AI.
Lots of white collar jobs are arguably under threat as well, like lawyers, film stars, surgeons, and airline pilots.
If you’re considering a career change, it’s important to make sure the profession you’re moving into won’t be replaced by robots in the next 10–20 years.
So, how do you know if your chosen field of work — or the field you’re considering — is safe?
Here’s the rule of thumb I like to follow:
A job is likely to be automated if it primarily involves repetitive tasks. A job is unlikely to be automated if it involves strategic thinking, creativity, critical thinking, and/or relationship building.
A lawyer spends a lot of time gathering and synthesizing information — skills that require knowledge, hard work, and commitment, but not so much creativity or strategic thinking.
Are there still going to be lawyers in the future?
Probably, because there are still strategic and creative components to being a lawyer. But, there’s likely to be a lot fewer lawyers if the researching and synthesizing of information — which is a large part of the job — is automated. There will also likely be few to no paralegals.
Things like this need to be considered if you’re planning to become a lawyer, and the same applies if you’re considering shifting into any new career.
Follow the rule of thumb I shared, and you’ll probably be safe from automation.
If you still aren’t sure, do some additional research — talk to people in the field or related fields, join relevant groups online, and most importantly: be honest with yourself.
It’s easy to falsely believe the profession you’re in (or want to go into) will be fine because you want to believe that. So, be sure to take off the blinders and give the situation an honest look before making any decisions.
What if you discover your current or chosen line of work is likely to be automated?
Start researching: are there more creative and strategic opportunities available within the same field of work? What kinds of articles and information is there about automation and AI in the specific industry you’re exploring?
If you conclude that your current or desired career isn’t a viable option, I’d recommend creeping people on LinkedIn who used to do what you do now (or want to do) and have transitioned to something new.
Check out what they’re doing — does it involve creativity, relationship building, critical thinking, or strategic thinking?
Maybe set up an informational meeting with them if you aren’t sure. Learn how to conduct informational interviews if you don’t already know how.
Here’s to being prepared for when robots take over the world…
What Are the Jobs of The Future?
Now, let’s talk about jobs of the future.
Did you know that 25% of Canadian jobs will be heavily disrupted by technology in the coming decade? (Source.)
We now know that jobs of the future will likely involve strategic thinking, creativity, critical thinking, and relationship-building. But what specific fields are actually going to be fruitful (i.e., provide lots of jobs) in the years to come?
I’ve done a little research for you. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Anything STEM-related.
That is, anything related to science, technology, engineering, or math. In fact, technology-related businesses are already struggling to fill these roles. Some people are even saying that the biggest barrier to the growing tech field right now is the current and future talent gap!
Want a high-paying career that will be secure into the future? Go into anything STEM-related. Also, if you have kids (especially girls), you might want to encourage them to explore this field and see if there’s something of interest to them in there. They might be interested in a new program called Symbiosis.
Let’s face it: there’s a stigma around trades. They’re seen as “less than” white collar jobs and assumed to require less smarts and skills. But this simply isn’t true and these assumptions are outdated. In fact, “The idea that skilled trades jobs are somehow less desirable than office jobs, was cultivated in parallel with an expanding post-secondary school system in the 20th century.” (Source.)
Tradespeople, including electricians, sheet metal workers, carpenters, and automotive mechanics have strong critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills — skills that are going to be the most desirable in the future.
RBC’s Future of Skills Report predicts there will be a LOT of jobs in the trades in the future, and in fact, there’s already a shortage of workers in this area.
3. Green jobs
Assuming policymakers act to keep climate change below 2 degrees Celsius (fingers crossed), there are going to be a LOT of jobs emerging in the green sector. In fact, some people are even saying as many as 24 million jobs worldwide.
Green jobs might be: anything in renewable energy, promoting electric cars, improving building energy efficiency, air and water purification, soil renewal, pest control, protection against extreme weather, sustainability consultants, green architects, urban farmers, green call centre advisors, car mechanics for electrical cars… and many, many more!
With the fast pace of change due to technology and automation, things are going to change dramatically over the next decade. The future is here, my friends. A lot of jobs 10 years from now probably don’t even exist yet — so I can’t tell you about them :(
This is why it’s super important to stay on top of trends in your industry or any industry you are considering moving into. Be up-to-date, take free online courses to sharpen your skills, and ensure you are adaptable and flexible with a changing job market.
(Fun fact: adaptability is one of the most desired skills among employers in 2019. If you can demonstrate that you’re on top of trends and adaptable to changes, you’re golden.)
Cheers to the future,