Now is the time to think about the jobs of the future

jobs of the future
Image credit | Eugenio Marongiu

Jobs of the future were at the forefront of our minds even before the current situation made us think about little else than the present.

In fact, COVID-19 and its fallout is proving that more skills are transferable than you might think. For instance, in the UK, cabin crew who have been suspended are using their skills to join the ranks of nurses. After all, they have first class first aid skills and exceptional people management skills.

Before the current crisis, the world was debating whether AI would take away all our jobs and the opinions were split. One camp said no, AI will enhance our lives, our work, our jobs, and create more. Another camp said yes, and some even talked a lot about global destruction and other far-fetched things.

A third camp said, yes and no. Yes, AI will take away many jobs, mainly repetitive ones that can be intelligently automated. And no – if you are in a ‘soft’ industry, which relies on human emotions and feelings to survive, such as nursing, caring or wellbeing, then you will be fine. In fact, you will be more valuable to a society that will have some time on its hands – rather like now.

Cognizant, the global IT services company teamed up with Axios, to come up with a list of 21 jobs of the future. And to back up the general consensus, the vast majority were around ‘soft’ issues.

Here is a partial list of their ideas for jobs of the future:

  • Chief Trust Officer – managing and enforcing transparency (mainly in financial services)
  • Ethical Sourcing Manager – as you would expect, aligning ethical sourcing and stakeholder wishes (and promises)
  • Man-Machine Team Manager – making sure we get the best out of AI to support humans (we are not sure if this is as sustainable as Axios does)

Several jobs of the future concern cyber security, although interestingly the salary levels are predicted to be lower than those above. Several are extensions or slight deviations of jobs that already exist, such as Edge Computing, AI itself, Quantum Machine Learning, Personal Data Broker and IT Facilitator.

There are also some jobs of the future that, right now, seem a little bit ‘out there’. Augmented Journey Builder is such a one, where you ‘design, write, build and calibrate the next generation of mind blowing stories’. So, er, authors.

Other areas include fitness, wellbeing (as discussed) and includes one job called a Walker Talker, which involves teaching people to, er, listen.

One area that we felt was missing – although Personal Data Broker sparked the thought – was in the area of Vendor Relationship Management.

The issue of the day (apart from that one) is privacy. Even during this crisis the WHO and other agencies are conscious that they cannot invade people’s privacy without their permission. Tony Poulos recently wondered ‘where the hell is AI when I need it most’. And the point is that Google, Facebook et al are in a ‘bit of a pickle’. If they use the data they have to the best of their ability, they expose just how much data they have on us and if they don’t, people might get sick, or worse.

Privacy will remain the issue of tomorrow. Vendor Relationship Management will upend the model that has supported Google and Facebook by returning the value of the data to us, the user. If we want something, we can put it ‘out there’ and companies can present us with offers. In other words, we can use our data the way it should have been used all along.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks and months – and it will continue to be grim – now, surely, is the time to start thinking about jobs of the future, our real transferable skills and where we want to be in five years’ time.

Now, where is that programme that writes the perfect CV that can fool the AI screening process?

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