What will the top jobs be in 2040?

Sophia Philippou - September 17, 2018

A baby is born today. In 2040, that baby will be starting their career. What will the job market look like then?

Yes, automation has already eliminated millions of manufacturing, food service and retail industry roles and there is little doubt that technology will eventually reshape every other industry. However, research from Oxford University shows that hundreds of roles aren’t going anywhere, such as occupational therapy, choreography, environmental engineering, and mental health counselling.

According to a forecast from the Institute for the Future (IFTF), 85% of the jobs in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. So, what could the top five jobs of 2040 look like?

1. Virtual Store Manager

As technology’s pace accelerates and more and more consumers are shopping online, how do we still satisfy their craving for human connection? How will we bring the human aspects that machines can’t yet (and may never) imitate – the ability to think, smell, taste – into the consumer journey? To inject humanity into our digital spaces, we’ll need humans. The role of community manager, much like the retail store manager as someone who engages customers in a digital world, is going to explode.

2. Robot Mediator

Sure, robots are disrupting some industries. But, despite fears about automation being the end of the human workforce, the need for skilled humans to operate, utilise and advance technologies will remain crucial.

3. Drone Traffic Controller

In 2016, the US saw over 670,000 drones registered with the federal government. With Amazon and Google testing ways to deliver packages by drone and future drone pilots already enrolling at ‘unmanned vehicle’ specialty schools, by 2040, there will need to be a regulated air traffic system similar to airplane pilots.

4. Augmented Reality Designer

Augmented reality – which combines computer-generated images with physical sight – will become mainstream. Engineers, architects and UX designers who work with this technology will be highly sought-after in the job market, driving job training to marketing billboards.

5. Micro Gig Agents

As the freelancer workforce increases along with the gig economy, independent consultants will work alongside a growing number of independent contractors. These consultants will be tasked with helping freelancers navigate a new digitally oriented landscape.

Source: Institute for the Future, 2017

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