The age of digitalization has led to a significant sea-change as to how we live our daily lives. Whether you are using Google Maps to navigate your way to work, online banking to instantly transfer funds or calling a family member via Skype from the other side of the world – all of this has been made possible by the technological arms-race of the 21st century.
One particular industry that has had to adapt in direct correlation to this digital transition is the recruitment market. In fact, it is estimated that at present, a whopping 29% of global roles are now performed by machines.
Whilst certain industries such as the printing press sector are being left behind, others are very quickly filling this gap. In this opinion piece, we are going to discuss 5 of the most prominent roles for the future of labour, alongside 5 that appear to be a dying breed.
Top 5 jobs of the future
In a recent study performed by the World Economic Forum, it was estimated that by the year 2025, more than 75 million jobs will have been replaced by automation. Whilst at first glance this may seem a somewhat daunting prospect, it is believed that these roles will be replaced by higher skilled and most importantly – higher paid positions.
Mobile App Developer
There appears to be a general consensus across the world of recruitment that the number one job of the future will be a mobile application developer. In reality, skills related to app development are already heavily in-demand and as such, commands an average annual salary of $107,000.
With the mobile app industry worth a reported $88.5 billion in 2016, it comes as no surprise that there is already a global workforce of more than 12 million. However, this trend is expected to grow exponentially year-on-year, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that by 2026, hiring rates will have increased by a remarkable 24%.
Whilst the growth of “Big Data” and the “Internet of Things” is allowing organizations to extract significant quantities of data in an autonomous manner, human involvement is still highly necessary. For example, in order to translate the data into real-world business decisions, it must first be interpreted, analysed and evaluated by a data architect. The role requires skills on two fronts.
Firstly, analysts must have the ability to understand complex data systems such as Microsoft SQL, Oracle and Solaris in a methodical manner. At the same time, in order to communicate to decision-makers effectively, data architects must be able to plan and coordinate seamlessly.
To illustrate employer demand for highly skilled labor in this area, data architects are currently commanding an average yearly salary of $113,000.
With an estimated $20 billion in ICO funding raised in the first nine months of 2018, it comes as no surprise that blockchain developers are in heavy demand. In fact, according to Burning Glass Technologies – a labour force data analytics organization, demand for those with skills in blockchain technology was up 115% in 2017 from the previous year. As a result, developers are able to demand up to $150/hour for their scarce expertise.
It isn’t just new ICO start-ups that are making up the growth in demand. On the contrary, major institutions from the financial, insurance, IT and security fields are looking for human capital that have the potential to build internal systems that are facilitated by distributed ledger technology. Firms are so keen to get talented blockchain specialists on-board that a new trend known as “Hackathons” has emerged, which is a competition-based event that allows developers to showcase their talent on the global stage.
As of late 2017, blockchain development was the second most in-demand skill-set, with robotic artificial intelligence the only position above it.
Artificial intelligence is taking the world by storm in more ways than one. Although the phenomenon has only recently gained widespread attention over the past few years, AI has been gracing its presence in multiple industries since at least the 1980s. In fact, high-frequency trading bots backed by AI technology have dominated the financial industry for the best part of 30 years.
To put things into perspective, the AI industry is expected to be worth more than $1.2 trillion by the end of 2018, an increase of almost 70% from the year prior. Moreover, it is estimated that this will increase three-fold to $3.9 trillion in 2022.
With the technology now reaching new heights, the demand for Machine Learning Engineers has gone through the roof. These are the people that actually build and subsequently train the underlying algorithms of the AI technology. As a result, earning potential in this particular field can be highly lucrative. According to global job posting website Indeed, Machine Learning Engineers earn an average of $140,000 annually.
As tech departments continue to increase their focus on AI, the demand for Machine Learning Engineers will be at the forefront of employment in the future.
Outside of the technical-based sectors we have identified above, an additional role that is set to lead the way in the future of employment is Registered Nursing. As technological innovation has resulted in vastly improved medical research, people are essentially living longer. What this means is that the demand for medical specialists – notably registered nurses, is expected to grow exponentially. One such organization that has recognised this all-round shortage is the United States Department of Labour, who estimates that more than 438,000 new roles will be created for Registered Nurses by the end of 2026 in the U.S. alone.
Although one could argue that an average salary of just under $70,000 is somewhat modest in comparison to the other roles we have mentioned, it is still considerably higher than the medium U.S. wage of $44,564.
5 jobs with a bleak future
So now that we have identified five jobs with the most prominent future, we are now going to ascertain five roles that many believe are slowly becoming redundant. In most cases, this is a direct result of technical innovation, whereby the age of digitization has allowed consumers to access goods and services in a more seamless manner, or facilitated a more efficient production process for manufacturers in the form of automation.
Print media industry
An obvious starting point is the print media industry. Although the likes of newspapers, magazines, flyers, and books are still used by a significant proportion of society, there is no denying that usage levels are declining significantly. For example, virtually every major newspaper publication in the UK is experiencing a year-on-year decline in sales, with some titles in double-digit loses.
In times gone by, booking a vacation was a rather personal experience. You would take a trip to your local travel agency and discuss your holidaying needs with the respective agent. However, when was the last time you booked a trip in this manner? The vast majority of flights, hotels, and excursions are now booked within the comfort of your own home, leading to cheaper and more efficient deals.
Once used as the first port of call for incoming calls, Switchboard Operators are slowly but surely being replaced by automation and other means of communication such as email. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this particular job will have declined by 13.2% by the end of 2022.
Whether it’s in a supermarket, coffee shop or convenience store – those working as a cashier are crucial for the facilitation of day-to-day payments. However, it is highly likely that in the very near future, their role will become somewhat obsolete. Self-service tills are already a thing and the likes of Amazon have introduced an automated system, whereby your account is automatically charged when you leave the store!
Assembly line worker
Potentially one of the biggest threats of the technological age is the automation of manufacturing. Machines offer production plants a significant increase in efficiency, meaning that they can produce goods not only faster, but cheaper too.
Steps to take to ensure you don’t get left behind
If the current trend remains constant, then it appears likely that as technological innovation continues to thrive, low-skilled positions are slowly but surely being replaced by automation. This isn’t necessarily something to be afraid of, as many believe that this digital transition will result in higher-skilled and most importantly – better-paid roles in the future.
Essentially, this re-modeling of the labour market will ensure that both the employer and the employee will need to advance their skills. One such argument is that technological innovation will create a new and highly substantial niche market of jobs, with ongoing training and education the key for those looking to tap into emerging sectors.
The key point is that you stay inquisitive and ensure that you keep your eye out for any gaps in skills or knowledge that you need for your desired sector. More importantly, if there is a particular role that you are keen to explore, your best chance of entering the market is to enroll on to a specific course or degree programme.
An additional option that is well worth considering is the rise of the freelance market. Organizations are finally beginning to change their attitudes towards flexible working arrangements, meaning that if you have a particular skill set that will allow you to work from home, you have a global audience available at the click of a button.
Challenges of the recruitment industry
One of the greatest challenges currently facing the recruitment industry is that the job market has become rather centralized. Whilst twenty years ago job seekers would deal directly with the organization that was looking to hire, things have changed quite considerably. In fact, the vast majority of job postings are now facilitated by centralized recruitment companies, which presents a range of issues.
Firstly, as one would expect from a third party intermediary, recruitment agencies take their cut when a candidate is employed. However, these fees are ultra-excessive, with LinkedIn claiming that this normally averages between 15%-25% of the employee’s first-year salary. Moreover, the consultant responsible for brokering the deal will receive a percentage of this fee. Although some would argue that incentivization is a good thing, consultants are solely motivated by the possibility of a commission, rather than the interests of the candidate.
There are also prolonged issues with mediation. Whilst centralized recruitment agencies claim to have the best interests of the candidate at heart, it is highly unlikely that they will side against the client that pays their wages.
Taking all of this into account, LaborX has recognised that it is highly possible to create an online recruitment platform that allows employers and employees to discuss and agree on potential roles, without needing an expensive or commission-driven third-party intermediary.
From the perspective of the job seeker, LaborX can provide seamless access to the global job market, whereby automated contracts ensure that you are paid in real-time. Moreover, with the view of alleviating the threats of inflation, your tracked hours are linked to the average earnings in your location.
From the perspective of the employer, LaborX offers a tailor-made platform to access talented individuals and by removing the middleman, fees are significantly lower in comparison to traditional recruitment firms.
Ultimately, to ensure that you don’t get left behind, the time is now to start investing in your future: LaborX can ensure that your skills are rewarded in a fair, transparent and accountable manner. See what LaborX can offer and subscribe for the newsletter in the bottom of the page to receive fresh updates and to be among the first adopters.