Technology in its broadest sense along with discovery are the drivers of new work and jobs. Each new discovery, every new software tool or programming language, every new product creates new jobs and requires new skills. As people began to unearth bones as they plowed fields in England, the science of palaeontology emerged. As computers grew, so did the number and type of computer languages and the programmers and analysts that make them useful.
The 21st century will bring hundreds of new jobs. Already I can envision the time when we will need experts in installing and improving artificial organs, in implementing green energy strategies, in mining the Moon and Mars, and in navigating and understanding deep space. But we will also need people who are more skilled at virtual relationship building and in working across cultures. Psychology and sociology are clearly going to be adapting and changing to a global, intercultural world. In the shorter term – say over the next 3-5 years, many jobs are already being identified by the Bureau of Labor in the United States and by other groups.
U.S. News & World Report each year publishes a list of those jobs they see as “ahead of the curve,” but these are mostly jobs that are already here and growing. This past December, for example, a couple of their emerging jobs were data miner and health care informatics specialists.
Over at the Future of Talent Institute we are embarking on a new and ambitious project to identify some of the jobs that are less obvious but that will be important to the economy over the next decade. Based on some of the trends we see as major, such as sustainability and intercultural mixing, we expect to identify a number of careers, jobs or specialties that will fuel growth and employ many over the next 10-15 years.
I’d love to hear from any of you who have ideas about this or see emerging trends, careers or occupations. We’ll give you full credit for your insight.