This piece delves into non-tech white-collar roles predicted to be in demand in the coming years. It's curated with insights from WEF and other global research entities.
By the end of this read, you'll grasp not only the professions of the future but also how to cultivate the skills they require.
The global job landscape is evolving, characterized by rapidly advancing technologies, emerging sectors, markets, and intertwined global economic systems. The tech strides of the past decade have brought potential job obsolescence, unprecedented skill gaps, and now artificial intelligence that rivals human intellect. Many private-sector companies are aligning their strategies to tap into opportunities birthed by technology.
There's anticipation that automation, powered by progressing technology, will soon handle tasks currently undertaken by humans. Research suggests that by 2025, machines and algorithms will be utilized more extensively, possibly equaling the hours humans dedicate to work.
The chief challenge in future adaptation is crafting workforce opportunities that can embrace, complement, and shape technological innovations. This demands organizations to modernize laws, norms, and operations. While these transformations might lead to the loss of familiar jobs, they also promise the genesis of numerous new career prospects.
Most children today will find themselves in jobs that haven't been invented yet. And that "day" might arrive sooner than we think.
Pearson's “Future Competencies: Employment in 2030” study reveals that around 20% of the existing workforce will be in professions predicted to shrink percentage-wise. Conversely, about 10% are expected to engage in emerging professions. While technology's influence might reduce the workforce in some sectors, it tends to enhance outputs in others. It's speculated that 70% of the workforce will be engaged in jobs we currently can't precisely predict, necessitating the redesign of many roles and continuous personal upskilling.
Not long ago, there was buzzing talk about novel technologies and the vast changes around 2022, with predictions about life's adjustments due to these shifts.
As the business world sees technological advances and fresh demands, the job market's dynamics will adapt. A key element, catering to employees' desires, also casts light on predicting the professional future. While Generation X seeks stability and assets, Millennials prioritize growth and development in their careers. Generation Z, born amidst the digital era, adeptly juggles multiple tasks. They largely steer this innovation trend. Predicting highly demanded professions in the upcoming years relies on this market demand!
How Will Competencies Be Affected?
Based on a report involving 1,500 top-level executives from 21 sectors across 26 countries by IBM:
- 79% of top executives from institutions leveraging automation expect their companies to outperform competitors in revenue growth in the next three years.
- 75% of participants believe their digital initiatives add the most value in the customer experience domain.
- 90% of these executives feel it engenders more high-value tasks for their employees.
McKinsey’s “Skill Transformation: Automation and the Future of the Workforce” report categorizes skills that need alteration across sectors into five groups.
- Energy and Mining: With automation, companies in these sectors aim to access new reserves and boost production efficiency. While demand for physical manual skills might drop, a rise in social, emotional, and tech skills is anticipated.
- Health: The health sector indicates an increasing need for physical skills. Interactions between patients and staff may evolve due to automation and AI. There might be reduced need for administrative staff.
- Insurance and Banking: Automation and AI in personalization, prediction, and data analytics might reduce physical labor demand. Yet, as customer relationships evolve, a surge in social and emotional skills is inevitable.
- Manufacturing: As office functions automate, a dip in basic cognitive skills is foreseeable. Nevertheless, a rise in social, emotional, leadership, communication, and managerial skills can be expected. Increased demand for creativity, complex information processing, and conceptual skills is also anticipated.
- Retail: With cashier-replacing automated payment machines, shelf stock updates by robots, improved customer demand predictions through machine learning, and sensor-driven inventory management, the retail sector will profoundly feel automation's impact. While the demand for physical and basic data input skills might wane, a robust growth in interpersonal skills, creativity, empathy, advanced IT skills, complex information processing, and programming will likely surge.
The emphasis on the above sectors presents an obvious pattern: a decline in physical labor and an unprecedented rise in higher cognitive, leadership, social, emotional, and managerial skills.
What might the Future of Jobs be? Here's a glimpse based on recent research and analysis:
- Counseling and Therapists: Rising stress levels worldwide and the significance of mental health awareness means an upsurge in these professions.
- Education Consultants: Tailored learning and unconventional education models will likely lead to a rise in demand for educators well-versed in diverse curricula.
- Elderly Care Specialists: With more populations aging and living longer, this niche will likely see a spurt in demand.
- Green Jobs: Specialists in sustainability, conservation, and environment-friendly technologies will be indispensable.
- Global Mobility Advisors: Migration, climate-driven relocations, and geopolitical shifts necessitate skilled professionals in this area.
To ensure your relevance in the future, continuous learning and upskilling in emotional intelligence, adaptability, resilience, and empathy are vital.
These predictions might appear mind-boggling. Yet, recalling how drastically the job market has altered in the past two decades alone, the trajectory appears plausible and even imminent.
Ready to welcome the Future of Jobs?
Four Key Takeaways from WEF's "The Future of Jobs 2020 Report":
- The workforce is undergoing a significant "double disruption." The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and layoffs coincide with many businesses adopting increased automation. Survey data from the report indicates 43% of businesses plan on reducing jobs due to tech integration, while 41% intend to onboard 'task-specific jobs.' This shift is expected to materialize by 2025.
- Among surveyed companies, roles considered redundant are projected to decrease from over 15% to below 10% of a company's total. Conversely, emerging roles thought to be in their infancy are anticipated to grow from about 8% to over 13%. From this, WEF predicts around 85 million jobs might be displaced by machines, but a new cluster of 97 million jobs, centered on machine interaction and algorithm expertise, could emerge.
- Remote work is more prevalent than ever on corporate agendas. According to feedback from senior HR executives, roughly 44% of employees could work remotely during the pandemic. As more processes digitize, there will be a focus on ensuring employee well-being in organizational management.
- Despite expected shifts in job roles in the coming years, business leaders prioritize reskilling to retain employees. Data from WEF suggests companies hope to reskill nearly half of their workforce that might be displaced by technology and repurpose them for other tasks. This focus on retention over layoffs signifies more than just economic motivations among business leaders.
What Lies Ahead for the World of Work?
The future's critical competencies will emphasize concurrent utilization of analytical, social, and emotional intelligence. For 2022, skills like analytical thinking, innovation, active learning, creativity, technology design, critical reasoning, complex problem-solving, leadership, social interaction, and emotional intelligence are predicted to be paramount.
- Different industries are being uniquely influenced by automation, robotization, and digitization.
High-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and cloud tech will lead companies to adopt new technologies. Many will concentrate on machine learning and augmented virtual reality as significant business investments.
- Amidst the disruptive change, there's a positive outlook for professions.
By 2022, newly emerging professions are expected to grow from 16% to 27% of the workforce in major global firms, while tech-outdated job roles may decline from 31% to 21%. In sheer numbers, due to evolving work division among humans, machines, and algorithms, 75 million existing job roles might be displaced, yet 133 million new roles could arise.
Future of Jobs will largely include positions heavily reliant on tech, such as "Data Analysts, Software and App Developers, and E-commerce and Social Media Specialists." However, roles emphasizing distinct "human" traits, like Customer Service Representatives, Sales and Marketing Professionals, Training and Development, Human & Culture, and Organizational Development Specialists, alongside Innovation Managers, are also expected to grow.
- The division of labor among humans, machines, and algorithms is rapidly evolving.
Employers anticipate a significant shift in the work division among humans, machines, and algorithms for contemporary tasks. Currently, in the sectors covered by the WEF 2020 Future of Jobs Survey, an average of 71% of total task hours is performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines or algorithms. By 2022, this ratio is expected to shift to 58% for human-executed task hours and 42% for machine or algorithm-executed hours.
Compared to the current state, the rise in machine-performed job tasks will be particularly evident in roles involving reasoning, decision-making, management, and information seeking. Even tasks like communication, interaction, coordination, management, and consulting, predominantly performed by humans today, will start being increasingly taken over by machines, albeit to a lesser extent.
- New Tasks Mean New Skills
In the future, the skills required to perform most jobs will undergo significant changes. It's projected that the global average "skill stability" - the proportion of foundational skills needed to perform a job that will remain unchanged - will be around 58%. This suggests that employees will see an average change of 42% in the necessary workplace skills. Highlighted among the sought-after skills are analytical thinking, active learning, as well as skills emphasizing the increasing demand for diverse work forms like technological design and proficiency. However, proficiency in new technologies is just one part of the 2022 skill equation. "Human" skills such as creativity, originality, taking initiative, critical thinking, persuasion, and negotiation, along with attention to detail, flexibility, and complex problem-solving will retain or even increase their value.
- We Must Embrace "Lifelong Learning"
Skill gaps in entrepreneurs or senior executives can hinder an organization's transformation significantly. Depending on the sector and geography, half to two-thirds of companies will turn to external contractors, temporary staff, and freelancers to address skill shortages. Workforce planning, reskilling, and comprehensive strategies for skill enhancement will be crucial for positive and proactive management of such trends.
The report also lists the top 20 professions expected to be in demand in the future:
- Data Analysts and Data Science Specialists
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Experts
- Big Data Experts
- Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists
- Process Automation Specialists
- Business Development Professionals
- Digital Transformation Specialists
- Information Security Analysts
- Software and Application Developers
- Internet of Things (IoT) Experts
- Project Managers
- Business Services and Management Managers
- Database and Network Experts
- Robotics Engineers
- Strategic Consultants
- Management and Organization Analysts
- FinTech Engineers
- Mechanical and Machine Repairers
- Organizational Development Experts
- Risk Management Experts
From the list, it's clear that expertise in Human Resources, Organization, and Management will continue to be in demand in the future. With transformation and progress evident, our training programs are designed to help you enter the Human Resources field or enhance your existing knowledge. Our comprehensive training content allows you to achieve your goals quickly and secure your position among the Professionals of the Future.
What will HR leaders focus on in 2023?
- Building critical skills and competencies
- Organizational design and change management
- Balancing current and future leadership
- The future of work
- Diversity, equality, and inclusivity
These priorities for the HR function are key to overall business success. Most HR leaders say that achieving operational excellence will be crucial in 2022, and many more than in previous years report that driving business transformation will be their main focus.
For every HR professional, this transformation will predominantly revolve around creating a truly hybrid environment. This will introduce a workforce model where employees divide their time between onsite and remote work, granting them more flexibility in deciding where and when they work.
So, What HR Roles Will We See in the Future?
- Organizational Development Specialist
Organizational development acts as a bridge that ties structure, culture, and strategy together, requiring a holistic and analytical perspective. To stay competitive, businesses need to continually align their strategy, culture, and internal processes and optimize inter-departmental communication. The capacity to change is viewed as a vital competency for an organization's continuity. Specialists in organizational development will play a guiding role in enhancing this competency, strengthening your organization's capacity to adapt.
- Management and Organization Analyst
This role aids companies in improving aspects such as productivity, management, and organization. It's about identifying current issues and potential risks and assisting the company in overcoming them.
- 'Work From Home' Manager
The flexible work culture has triggered several shifts in the following areas:
- Corporate Processes: The transformation of remote work workflows and HR operations automation.
- Policies: Developing specific WFH policies and revising existing ones.
- Technology: Adopting the latest HR technologies like Slack, MS Teams, and other related apps.
Given the importance of maintaining the motivation and satisfaction of remote workers, this will emerge as a crucial job role.
- Skill Design Manager
This role is pivotal in the ongoing development of skills for a diverse workforce. The emphasis will be on devising new strategies to analyze future job requirements and on adding new skills to the existing skill sets.
- HR Data Director
Big data has begun to dominate our lives in recent years and will continue to do so. Data experts will focus on consolidating insights that will boost employee performance and experience. Managing and guiding data analysis for better job performance will also fall within the purview of this role.
- Employee Experience Enhancer
It has become clear for organization leaders that employee experience cannot be overlooked. Employees are essentially the first consumers of any company, and their experience should be on par with customer experience. Through this role, companies will see improvements in employee loyalty, brand value, and overall productivity.
- Workspace Design Manager
Given the focus on creating optimal working conditions within workspaces, this position will be of great importance. Issues such as employee engagement and organizational culture will become even more critical for businesses in the future.
- Chatbot Facilitator
With the rise of AI in HR, guidelines will be put in place to ensure and enhance a candidate's AI experience. This role will ensure a seamless chatbot experience for employees.
- Agile HR Coach
As agile practices gain momentum, this job role will be essential in maintaining agile processes within HR. Complex project management and serving multiple stakeholders will be primary functions of this role.
Secure Your Place in the Future of Jobs
Advancements in technology will continue to reshape Human Resources and Organizational Development. To avoid becoming redundant, it's crucial to keep abreast of new technologies, data analytics, social networking, and more. The pace of technological and sociocultural change is rapid, increasingly necessitating innovative individuals who are quick learners. The key is to remain open to learning and to apply that knowledge.
To always be the preferred choice in the professional world, you should be proactive in evolving yourself. Orginsight Academy offers training tailored to your individual or corporate goals, connecting you with the knowledge and skills of the future in an innovative approach. Moreover, through our training content and designs aimed at producing practitioners, we ensure you become the experts of tomorrow.
Contact us for a future-proof career for you or a future-proof strategy for your organization.
--- The above article is a summarized compilation from various research papers and does not constitute financial or professional advice. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research or consult professionals in the field before making any decisions.