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Job market 2020 and beyond

The way we work is changing dramatically,as we move into 2020. We are seeing a greater focus on equal rights for all employees, flexible and considerate schedules and company structures, and a far greater emphasis on accountability around poor working conditions.

In 2020 and beyond, the intense scrutiny that businesses are facing will certainly lead us to a more positive and productive future of work. The future of work is a somewhat misleading phrase. Referring to a way of working that is fundamentally different from traditional 9 to 5, the ‘future’ of work is already here and significantly changing how people think about jobs and about how their time is valued. It is useful to look at how far we’ve come in terms of employment and workers’ rights, and how far we still need to go to create the ‘future of work’ that many envisage.

As we move into 2020, here are a few predictions on the next developments in employment and work, and why ‘the future of work’ might not be quite.

Why graduates earn more. Obviously they are much more likely to be  protected from the ravages of automation than lower-skilled workers. To protect oneself, qualifications matter more than ever.

The relationship between education and employment is self-reinforcing. Employers need to make decent decisions about whom to hire. And what better mark of quality than a degree certificate from a university they can trust, an institution which has three or four years’ experience in training and marking an applicant whose CV companies might scan for three or four seconds?

But here’s the strange thing. This relationship is breaking down. Employers consistently say they can’t find the right employees. Graduates, they say, don’t have the right skills, soft and hard. Educational institutions are pumping out more and more students holding framed certificates, and yet those certificates mean less and less.

The world of work is shattered irreversibly by digital technologies, the old self-reinforcing relationship between employment and education increasingly resembles a dance of death. It is a strange partnership in which failing companies and doomed workers pretend that qualifications matter more than skills. Empathetically, education is a one-off for the young, not lifelong. Moreover learning is monolithic not personalized and lengthy not bite-sized.

The “knowledge” which once the preserve of the few, is now universally accessible and that what matters is not remembering it all but being able to access what you need when and where you need it. The whirlwinds of change are sweeping through the world of work. It doesn’t matter from which university you graduated. Across the corporate world there’s this realization that a degree was a pretty rough estimation of worth and talent.And when you begin to think about it, what was valuable yesterday is on the scrapheap today.

For a new range of educational institutions and employers trying to move beyond this cut-throat situation, the answer remains “learning”. As knowledge expands, the shelf-life of education decreases. Degrees decay. Courses whose specialist content once stayed fresh for a decade or longer, are now only relevant for a year or two, sometimes becoming outdated before students have their Convocation. The last thing a teacher needs to give her students is more information. People need the ability to make sense of information, to tell the difference between what is important and what is unimportant and above all to combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world.

The idea that universities have a lock on issuing the qualifications that matter is crumbling. Credentials are being verified and vouched for in new, better and more meritocratic ways. It is very, very hard for traditional education to adapt quickly enough to the world now. Higher education is the way you boost productivity. But the evidence is clear that you can’t simply increase university enrolment and expect that to do the job. If we really want to adapt we’ll need to look beyond the world of higher education and ask what skills are amenable to the boot camp model. This means intense technical courses focusing on specific skills like coding for students pre, post- or mid-career — have become extremely popular.

The trends are clear. Having shorter period base qualifications and often “unbundled” into their constituent parts, each of which has value, and can be stacked together over many years to create a formal qualification.

A new emerging phrase we is ‘micro credential’. It means rather than having to take a full MBA, people can take just the bit they need at that moment, like data science, then another next year, eventually stacking those credentials together. In the next few years there is going to be a radical shift in attitudes among learners, students and employers to education.

A model of microcredentials could be a 12 weeks of study, 120/150 hours of study and assessments; endorsed by industry so that it’s clear to learners that it will enhance their chances of getting work or progressing in work. So many people are going to be uprooted in their careers and also due to the digitization of the education sector itself. In 20 years so there would be major shifts.

One will be consolidation as degrees, or the institutions that provide them, are found to offer poor value. “Some degrees you pay 30k and earn 20k, if anything. It doesn’t make sense,” says Dan George. But asmany traditional qualifications are devalued, others — from boot camps to micro-credentials — will move the other way.

Technical education means being trained to be competent at a job. And in that, it mirrors what the most pioneering companies in the world are doing themselves. Google has had to retrain countless software engineers in new, machine-learning techniques. Last month Amazon announced plans to invest $700 million in retraining a third of its US workforce to do more technical tasks.

From 1940-1970, skills outran demand. The results were that a young university graduate could expect to find a secure job at a decent salary. Job market was able to generate sufficient opportunity for blue-collar workers to attain a middle-class lifestyle on the basis of nothing more than their salaries. Today, by contrast, middle income jobs that have supported a broader middle class are disappearing.

 

Education is still lagging behind on the impact of technology. Teachers’ jobs are not being threatened by technology. Education will be the last sector to be disrupted. Classrooms are astonishingly complex places. This is the transformational analytical capability of technology, allowing teachers to better understand what they do uniquely well, and then distributing that knowledge widely.

Soon the top universities will thrive, others will crumble under competition from microcredentials, nano-degrees and boot-camps. We have to understand that other elements that universities has traditionally fostered, like the self-starting discipline to go out, do research and get work done, as well as a network of friends and contacts. But unlike a degree, one is not have to go to a university to get them.

The job market is constantly changing and the changes are coming faster and faster. Today it is very different from our grandparents’ generation. The jobs our grandparents held might not be in demand now.What does this mean for 2020, or even 2050? We know the job market will change even faster as technology advances increases. Some jobs in high demand for future generations don’t even exist today. But we can predict which career paths will be in demand 20-50 years from now. Present day labor statistics and industry trends help form these predictions.

What are the best careers for the future? The jobs predicted to have solid growth and good pay in the future are:

  • Business Analyst
  • Software Developer
  • Marketing
  • Information Security
  • Physical Therapist
  • Sales

These are great career paths for the future. Many other jobs will be in demand as technology changes industries. These jobs aren’t necessarily getting a big boost yet, while the technology is still young and more difficult to predict. But we can look at upcoming technologies to see what jobs will be important in 10-30 years.

Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are two technologies that are going to change industries. These will form the jobs in demand in the future. Robotics taking a bigger role in industry will mean certain jobs going away. Manual and dangerous tasks will be replaced by robots. Manual laborers will become more skilled to stay valuable. Artificial intelligence will remove the need for many repetitive tasks. Workers will have access to more tools and data than ever before. The career paths that thrive will be those that use data like analysts and developers.

One of the things we’re seeing is the decline is unskilled work or work that requires only one highly-specialized skill. People are being asked to perform a wider variety of complex tasks now. Communications skills, tech savvy, and constant learning will be increasingly required for jobs in all fields.

This is why we’re seeing the decline or disappearance of jobs such as toll booth operators and retail cashiers. Door-to-door mail delivery service is phasing out. Couriers and delivery people remain in demand as shopping online continues to play an expanding part in the retail sector. Experts are still waiting to see what impact the driverless car technology will have on the transportation and delivery sectors. Likewise Data Entry Operators, Cubicle workers or clerks, Executive Secretaries, Customer Support Services officers are going to be eliminated.

Communications skills, tech savvy, and constant learning will be increasingly required for jobs in all fields.

The move from desktops and laptop to smart phones and tablets has created a current high demand for application developers and designers. So while we can’t predict exactly where technology will be at in 2020, but we can advise people to keep up with the latest trends and tools of their time. Everyone will have to be more ‘tech savvy.’ Workers will need to evolve their skills as technology also evolves.

These same disruptive trends that phase out some jobs will lead to the creation of new ones

The aging population will continue to require more workers in a wide range of medical professions. Doctors, obviously, will be in demand, but also Nurses, Healthcare Managers and Technicians, Pharmacists, Care-givers and Elder-care Coordinators.

A mixture of healthcare and technology education would be a powerful combination. Biomedical engineering is expected to be one of the hottest fields over the coming decade.

If young people want to create a powerful career path, one where they have the option to be their own boss, they can’t go wrong with an education that includes technology, and business management or marketing – along with obtaining an expertise at one of the skilled trades.

This kind of cross-disciplinary education is going to be the key to future success. An engineer with technical wizardry may be a genius at what they do, but an engineer with solid technical abilities as well as advanced communications skills is a rock star.

Critical thinking and problem solving skills also cannot be automated. The best paid and most secure jobs will go to people with solid analytic and interactive abilities.

The author, Fatima Irshad Hashmi, is a freelance writer. She is MPhil Scholar at IoBM and could be reached at  fatima.i.hashmi@gmail.com

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