Wednesday 23 October 2019

Are you ready? Here are the top 50 jobs of the future

It's not all about IT – health and waste will be key sectors

Marriage Ceremony
Marriage Ceremony
Digitalisation impacts on jobs and skills at all levels, all sectors

Sarah Stack

A JOB for life is now an unimaginable thing for most teenagers.

See list at end of article

Many of our schoolchildren will live to see and even work in the 22nd Century.

In some cases, the careers they'll take on haven't even been invented, but the 50 jobs for the future compiled in today's Irish Independent with the help of industry and recruitment experts will need to be filled.

Thirty years ago, 'Apple' was still a fruit. Fifteen years ago, Google was a funny word. However, the future won't all be gleaming IT offices with fussball tables and hoodies.

A looming ecological crisis means dirty work in the form of waste and resource management will be central to the economic well-being of the next two generations, at least.

Similarly, the longer we all live, the more care we'll all need in old age – much of that will have to be provided hands-on by "old-fashioned" nurses and doctors. But an ageing population also means rapidly rising demand for products designed and produced by a medical devices sector that will bridge biology, mechanics and chemistry.

Our children will also always need teaching.

Over time, technology as a sector is likely to fade in importance, but only because the skills required will be to the fore in all sectors.

Those of us who began life with plans of becoming a jet-pack-powered officer in the space police know that predicting future employment trends is a risky business.

After seven years of crisis, job prospects may seem bleak for the teens of today, who've seen record jobless rates, mass migration and households struggling to survive.

But with unemployment easing and the economy showing signs of recovery, can our school leavers begin to look at the future with some positivity?

David Coyle, of specialist IT recruitment agency Methodius, said any graduate with a decent IT degree will be guaranteed a job in the coming years.

But he warns teens not just to hone in on the sector because of career prospects, but to study something they enjoy.

"Not everybody needs to be a techy, there are areas where you need communication skills like project management," he said.

"Some people have a degree in arts and then a post grad in computing is another avenue."

Despite already producing a high percentage of IT graduates, almost a third of people Mr Coyle hires for firms hail from outside Ireland.

"We are hoovering great talent from Italy, Spain and Portugal to the detriment of those counties," he added.

"But in return we are losing expensively educated nurses and engineers who are enriching Australia and Canada."

Thousands of new jobs are being created in Ireland's growing digital economy, for tomorrow's IT graduates, experts claim.

A rise in online spending, the roll-out of faster broadband, and expansions by some of the biggest hitters in the sector – in systems, software, cloud computing, big data analytics, social technologies and IT security – will go some way to tackle our unemployment rate.

Ireland's internet economy is set to more than double in value by 2020, to just over €21bn, with up to 79,000 new jobs to be added, according to a recent study by UPC.

However, many jobs being filled here at the moment did not exist 20 years ago, and it is believed an estimated 60pc of the jobs in 10 years' time have not been invented yet.

Luckily, Ireland remains a key location for foreign direct investment and with that comes jobs in a range of sectors like pharmaceuticals, aviation, ICT, R&D and medical devices.


Our finance and construction sectors have seen spurts of recovery, but where will they be in 10, 20, or even 30 years?

Perhaps, surprisingly, some experts believe a humanities education will benefit school leavers and those wanting a change of career more than any other university degree.

Critical thinking and contextual awareness are set to become more important as jobs in the professions, as well as manufacturing, lose out to automation, according to futurist Re Dubhthaigh.

"In an Irish context, we have not been very good at looking on medium-term timeframes of 20 years or so," said the independent strategist working across education, policy and tech.

We already know that the idea of a job for life is becoming old hat. In the future, the notion a neat career with a clearly defined start, middle and end will soon go the same way.

The top 50 jobs of the future

1 IT project management: You don't necessarily need a degree in IT for this, it's about communication, planning and organisation. Accounts for one in seven jobs in the industry.

2 Anthropology: The study of people can take you into almost any career path, anywhere in the world, including education, health care, museum curation, social work, international development, government, organisational psychology, non-profit management, marketing, publishing and forensics.

3 Software Systems Developers: They develop or modify software systems – that run computers or other technologies like phones, network routers and switches – for companies, industry and the public sector.

4 Software Tester: One in every five jobs in the IT industry. They set out to find software bugs, errors or other defects, before a package goes on the market.

5 Technical Support: Service provided by a hardware or software company to support users and customers after a package is on the market.

6 Hard Science: With 120 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and 250 medical device firms, the job opportunities are vast and varied here. Scores of research and scientific projects are also funded by Science Foundation Ireland. (See case study.)

7 Epidemiologist: Uncover the cause and effects of various diseases, ailments and illnesses, like the dreaded avian flu.

8 Software Applications: Developers: Design and develop software, from games to word processing programs, for computers, tablets, mobile phones and Smart TVs. Applications are also used by governments, manufacturers and from small firms to multi-nationals.

9 Priest: It might not be for everyone, but there's a dire shortage of Catholic clergy here. Just 20 young men entered Maynooth College last September to study for the priesthood. With attrition rates of 40-plus, less than 12 are expected to be ordained in 2020 for the 26 dioceses of Ireland.

10 Medical devices: Our med tech firms account for €7.9bn of Ireland's exports, providing a third of the world's contact lenses and half of the ventilators in acute hospitals worldwide.

11 Engineering: The sector, which includes industrial product and services, aerospace and automotive, already employs 18,500 people, with more than 1,000 in R&D – and more to come.

12 Systems Analyst/ Architect: The IT role can vary from firm to firm, but generally they analyse, customise and enhance information systems computer systems to meet specific information-technology needs.

13 Computer Forensics: Forensic analysis of communications and data on storage devices, such as disks and CD-ROMs. Those qualified can investigate and uncover evidence of illegal activities and cybercrime, from credit card fraud and hacking to paedophilia and terrorism.

14 Electronic Discovery: E-discovery is a form of computer forensics featuring in civil and criminal courts on a daily basis. Investigators, and defence teams, are gathering data and evidence electronically, including what you thought were private emails or text messages. Many law firms are now hiring their own.

15 Human Resources: Every firm needs to hire, fire and protect themselves against disciplinary action from an overworked, underpaid, disgruntled employee.

16 Market Research Analysts/Marketing Specialists: They research market conditions to help guide sales and marketing decisions.

17 Data Security/Privacy: Responsible for maintaining IT security and integrity of data. The job involves analysing the security measures of a company, determining how effective they are, putting in new measures and making sure staff are trained on proper security measures, both in the office and online.

18 Ethical Hacker: Similar to above, but different. Companies can hire experts to purposefully hack systems in order to pinpoint problems in security measures before their less-ethical counterparts get the chance.

19 Interpreters: Some of the world's most innovative companies are setting up their EMEA headquarters here, resulting in an abundance of exciting opportunities available to candidates who speak a second language fluently.

20 Big Data: Ireland has the potential to create up to 21,000 jobs over the next six years in the area of data analytics and data scientists, proficient in areas such as mathematics, statistics and management science, combined with associated IT skills.

21Cloud Computing: Storing data – from company software to Facebook info – remotely. (See case study.)

22 Actuary: Use maths and statistics to analyse the financial consequences of risk for insurance companies, banks, consulting firms and the government.

23 Private Banking: As banks make it more difficult to actually bank in a branch, the rate of private banking is set to rise with investment and other financial services provided to private individuals who enjoy high levels of income or invest sizable assets.

24 User Experience (UX): Study a person's behaviours, attitudes, and perceptions about using a particular product, system or service to see how useful it is and how it can be improved, which increases sales. Don't knock it as a career – salaries doubled in less than three years to €85,000.

25 User Interface Designer (UDI): Similar to above, but this is the design of websites, computers, appliances, machines, mobiles and software applications with the focus on making the user's experience and interaction as simple and efficient as possible.

26 Food (Science): The Kerry Group, for example, is investing €136m in its new innovation nerve centre in Naas where it will develop new products by putting more research into sports, diet, infant and elderly nutrition. Others will soon follow suit. Food chemists can also develop and improve the taste and texture of food.

27 GM Crops: While off the cards at the moment, the contentious issue of genetically-modified crops (GM) will probably pop up on the table for legislators in years to come as new foods are needed for the world's growing population.

28 Aquaculture: Or fish farming is another controversial subject, but with fish stocks falling it could well become a bigger business.

29 Dairy: Export values for dairy product and ingredients exceeded €3bn for the first time last year, and the industry is set to grow after China became our third largest market. Our milk, powered baby milk, cheese and butters can be found on supermarket shelves and fridges worldwide.

30 3D Printing: As 3D printing grows, so will the numbers working in it. Jobs will come on board across all sections from designers who can take a product idea and translate it into something that can feasibly be brought to life to engineers and those in sales.

31 Geospatial Information: Aerial imagery, height information, boundary lines, and even historic tourist and leisure maps are all included in the field that employs 1,677 people in Ireland. The industry expanded significantly in recent years with the growth in smartphones, route planners, sat navs, GPS and real-time information.

32 Physician / Nurse: The health sector has suffered huge cuts in recent years, but will it recover as the baby boom generation ages?

33 Carer: Being an unpaid home carer for a family member will be a reality for many of today's teens at some point in their lives, but careerwise there will also be positions in care homes for the elderly, people living with a disability or children in social care.

34 Education: No matter how many cuts are made, youngsters will always need to be educated – from playschool to PhDs.

35 Occupational Therapist (or similar): Work with patients – including a person with a mental health problem, a child with special needs, an adult recovering from an accident or elderly person after a hip op – to regain their independence.36 Psychologist / Counsellors/ Social Workers: With people struggling to cope with the stresses of everyday live, professionals will always need be on hand to focus on our emotional well-being.

37 Computer Generated Imagery: While employment in more traditional art forms may stall, try creating digital images in art, printed media, video games, films, television programs, commercials and simulators.

38 Logistician: Use complex computer software to track the movements of goods and products, from getting exports and products from A to B to where to place a tin of soup on a supermarket shelf. It's even used by some government agencies to help clean up natural disasters.

39 Natural Energy: Reports claim more than 47,000 jobs – development, engineering, construction – could be created in Ireland's wind energy sector by 2020 if a multibillion euro plan to export energy to the UK goes ahead. Ireland is also ideally placed to tap in to ocean/wave energy, with millions already being set aside to examine various ocean energy test sites on the west coast.

40 Exploration: Authorities in New Zealand are deciding whether to approve an underwater iron-ore operation, making it the world's first commercial metals mine at the bottom of the sea. Could that pave the way for similar moves closer to home? Firms are already searching for more gas and oil off the west and south west coast. And don't even mention fracking.

41 Waste Management: As our population grows, so will the amount of waste we make, and specialists are needed to figure out more environmentally friendly ways of, managing it. (See case study)

42 Retrofitting: One in four homes now has a better energy rating thanks to retrofitting, with the numbers employed in the sector set to soar as homes, business schools and local authority housing are tackled.

43 Surveyors: A dire shortage of graduates in the construction sector has meant every newly qualified surveyor has walked into a job this year.

44 Smart Metering: Like it or not, water meters are being installed at a home near you, and who knows what will follow next. The Commission for Energy Regulation is examining a national smart metering prepayment solution to control usage, waste and costs.

45 Pest Control: It's not that long ago since a giant rat, the size of a domestic cat, was discovered in the attic of a Dublin family's home. Our rat population is on the rise, with one busy pest controller admitting he would never eat in a city centre restaurant.

46 Public Servant: The traditional job for life, if you manage to find an opening.

47 Hairdressing: A recession-proof trade to have – don't we all want to look good no matter how little wages we are earning?

48 Tradesmen: While gadgets make most jobs easier and faster we will always need the human touch and the builders, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, gardeners and painters that are out there.

49 Cobbler: Whether you wear them till they're fit for the bin, or are just unlucky enough to get your high-heel caught in Dublin's cobbled streets on a regular basis, your trusted cobbler is always on hand to carry out your repair.

50 Undertakers: Again, you can take some assurance from Ireland's aging population that you'll never be out of work.

Irish Independent

Also in Business