Top 10 Future Careers
By Glen Hiemstra, 2001
There are many sources that forecast job growth in the future, most notably the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which does a regular forecast of the top jobs of the next decade as determined by percentage growth rate in the number of jobs, and total number of new jobs. If you look at a recent version of this report you see that, as for about the last decade, the top job growth is expected to come in fields related to computer technology or health care services. This is a fairly conventional view however, and while accurate, may not fully grasp the shift in the nature of work we may see in the next couple of decades.
Less conventional views, which are less accurate but interesting, can be found in annual publications such as Time Magazine. Recently they summarized the jobs that were going to be out, and those that would be in. The “in” list is designed to tickle the imagination, but actually seems farsighted. The “out list,” contributed by Tom Peters, seems off-base in several ways. CEO’s are assumed to be out because organizations are too complicated for one person to lead…we’ll see about that. Fathers are out because artificial means of reproduction will make them unnecessary…maybe in a few isolated cases. Teachers out because they will be replaced by technology…assisted yes, but not replaced, and in fact we’ll see more teachers.
- Stockbrokers, Auto Dealers, Mail Carriers, Insurance & Real Estate Agents
- Prison Guards
- Issue Engineers
- Gene Programmers
- Frankenfood Monitors
- Data Miners
- Hot-Line Handymen
- Virtual Reality Actors
- Turing Testers
- Knowledge Engineers
What do you think? See Time Magazine on-line for a full definition of the jobs they see as “in”.
Another interesting speculation on jobs that would be in and out can be found in Michio Kaku’s book, Visions. In his view it is unlikely that we will crack the “common sense” test in artificial intelligence any time soon, and thus there will be lots of work for people involving the use of common sense, as well as advanced scientific and creative thought.
OUT – Repetitive, inventory tracking, middlemen.
- Insurance Sales
- Investment bankers, brokers
- Travel agents
- Car dealers
- Video store clerks
- Newspaper production and delivery (but not news production and delivery)
IN – Creative work requiring lots of common sense and working with people.
- Entertainment – Writers, performers, actors
- Science and Technology
- Services – Chauffeurs, maids, personal trainers & assistants, police, lawyers, teachers, tutors, tour guides, hotel personnel, yard workers, etc.
- Skilled & Craft – Construction, repair, sanitation, highway crews, park service, teachers.
- Information services – Infrastructure construction & repair, fiber, cable, satellites, etc.
- Medical, Healthcare & Biotechnology – Low to high skilled
Kaku’s view seems reasonable, but bear in mind that the jobs on the “out” list may persist for a few more generations.
In my own view growth jobs of the near future will be clustered in three broad areas:
Developing and using technology
This applies to technology of all kinds but especially applies to communications and computing technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Additional areas will be energy technology and transportation.
Respond to fundamental demographic shifts
The huge youth population of the current decade, the tidal wave of elders coming especially after 2010, and the impacts of migration around the world all create the need for work in a variety of fields, from teaching to tourism, from job training to elder care.
Help society’s organizations adapt
The pace of change that organizations face is increasingly clear. Both internal and external jobs in fields like communications, counseling, consulting, and training will grow, as will the shear application of change skills within the context of regular jobs in management and elsewhere.
Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, author, consultant, blogger, internet video host and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.