FREEDOM AND SAFETY

 

Could a robot do your job? Millions of people who didn’t see automation coming will soon find out the painful way. The answer is a resounding yes.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.

Image: Reuters

The good news is that those same technological advances will also create 2.1 million new jobs. But the manual and clerical workers who find themselves out of work are unlikely to have the required skills to compete for the new roles. Most new jobs will be in more specialized areas such as computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering.

Governments and employers in every sector are being urged to retrain and re-skill workers to avoid a crisis.

“Without urgent and targeted action today, to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

New skills for new economies

So what skills should workers be acquiring to make sure they have value as theFourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace? Some may be surprised to learn that skills we develop in pre-school will be valued highly.

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, argues that soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial. He says the modern workplace, where people move between different roles and projects, closely resembles pre-school classrooms, where we learn social skills such as empathy and cooperation.

Deming has mapped the changing needs of employers and identified key skills that will be required to thrive in the job market of the near future. Along with those soft skills, mathematical ability will be enormously beneficial.

Single-skillset jobs in decline

Deming shows that in recent years, many jobs requiring only mathematical skills have been automated. Bank tellers and statistical clerks have suffered. Roles which require predominantly social skills (childcare workers, for example) tend to be poorly paid as the supply of potential workers is very large.

The study shows that workers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.

Refocusing skills education

The challenge now, says Deming, is for educators to complement their teaching of technical skills like mathematics and computer science, with a focus on making sure the workers of the future have the soft skills to compete in the new jobs market.

The 21 best jobs of the future:

21. Elementary school teachers, except special education

21. Elementary school teachers, except special education

Projected new positions by 2024: 78,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $54,120

What they do: Teach young children basic skills in schools

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

20. Nurse practitioners

20. Nurse practitioners

Projected new positions by 2024: 44,700

Median annual earnings in 2014: $95,350

What they do: Treat and diagnose patients' illnesses

Typical educational requirements: Master's degree

 

19. Financial managers

19. Financial managers

Projected new positions by 2024: 37,700

Median annual earnings in 2014: $115,320

What they do: Direct financial activities at organizations

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

18. Electricians

18. Electricians

Projected new positions by 2024: 85,900

Median annual earnings in 2014: $51,110

What they do: Install, maintain, and repair electrical equipment

Typical educational requirements: High-school diploma

 

17. Licensed practical and vocational nurses

17. Licensed practical and vocational nurses

Projected new positions by 2024: 117,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $42,490

What they do: Care for patients in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and similar institutions

Typical educational requirements: Postsecondary non-degree award

 

16. Lawyers

16. Lawyers

Projected new positions by 2024: 43,800

Median annual earnings in 2014: $114,970

What they do: Represent clients in legal situations

Typical educational requirements: Professional degree

 

15. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives

15. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives

Projected new positions by 2024: 93,400

Median annual earnings in 2014: $55,020

What they do: Sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers

Typical educational requirements: High school diploma

 

14. Medical and health services managers

14. Medical and health services managers

Projected new positions by 2024: 56,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $92,810

What they do: Plan, direct, or coordinate health services

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

13. Software systems developers

13. Software systems developers

Projected new positions by 2024: 51,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $102,880

What they do: Develop operating systems, compilers, and network software

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

12. Market research analysts and marketing specialists

12. Market research analysts and marketing specialists

Projected new positions by 2024: 92,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $61,290

What they do: Research market conditions and create marketing campaigns

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

11. Physical therapists

11. Physical therapists

Projected new positions by 2024: 71,800

Median annual earnings in 2014: $82,390

What they do: Help patients recover from illnesses and injuries

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

 

10. Personal financial advisers

10. Personal financial advisers

Projected new positions by 2024: 73,900

Median annual earnings in 2014: $81,060

What they do: Advise clients on their finances

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

9. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

9. First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers

Projected new positions by 2024: 121,200

Median annual earnings in 2014: $50,780

What they do: Supervise and coordinate the activities of clerical and administrative-support workers

Typical educational requirements: High-school diploma

 

8. Computer and information systems managers

8. Computer and information systems managers

Projected new positions by 2024: 53,700

Median annual earnings in 2014: $127,640

What they do: Plan, direct, and coordinate computer systems

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

7. Management analysts

7. Management analysts

 

Projected new positions by 2024: 103,400

Median annual earnings in 2014: $80,880

What they do: Conduct research and develop procedures to allow organizations to run more efficiently

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

6. Accountants and auditors

6. Accountants and auditors

Projected new positions by 2024: 142,400

Median annual earnings in 2014: $65,940

What they do: Examine, analyze, and interpret accounting records

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

5. Physicians and surgeons, all other

5. Physicians and surgeons, all other

Projected new positions by 2024: 51,700

Median annual earnings in 2014: At least $187,200*

What they do: Treat patients in a variety of specialized fields

Typical educational requirements: Doctoral or professional degree

* BLS median annual earnings estimates for 2014 are capped at $187,200, and earnings for this occupational group fell at or above that cap

 

4. Computer systems analysts

4. Computer systems analysts

Projected new positions by 2024: 118,600

Median annual earnings in 2014: $82,710

What they do: Analyze data processing problems to develop and improve computer systems

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

3. Software applications developers

3. Software applications developers

Projected new positions by 2024: 135,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $95,510

What they do: Develop front-end user-oriented computer applications and programs

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

2. General and operations managers

2. General and operations managers

Projected new positions by 2024: 151,100

Median annual earnings in 2014: $97,270

What they do: Plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of organizations

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

1. Registered nurses

1. Registered nurses

Projected new positions by 2024: 439,300

Median annual earnings in 2014: $66,640

What they do: Assess patient health needs and care for patients

Typical educational requirements: Bachelor's degree

 

 

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