If you’ve recently had a baby, you’re probably not thinking about their career? Mind you, as I reflect back on the birth of my two daughters, I think there was some thought and fantasy given to how they’d impact the world, and from time to time my thoughts became quite specific in terms of industry, position and the numbers of zeros on their paycheck. Whether you’re spending any time thinking about your child’s career or not, it’s still a fascinating thought on a number of levels.

For example it would have been a massive error on the part of any parent in the early 1900’s had they been filling their child’s dreams of being a buggy-whip maker. As the world was about to discover, it didn’t matter how well you made buggy-whips, Henry Ford was going to put an entire industry to bed. Or before the 1960’s there were no photocopier technicians, and yet billions have been spent and made in this industry. Of course it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to imagine a photocopy-less world in the very near future.

Of course, a very real concern is around education. Is our Education Department thinking about these things? Are schools educating our children for their future or our current reality? As parents, what role can we play in preparing our children to be successful when they leave school?

So how does one determine what jobs will be in demand by 2025? One method is to simply extrapolate current trends and predict where they’ll end up. Work out the demand of the consumer, and you can take a fairly accurate guess at jobs available. You can also take current scientific breakthroughs that are nowhere close to being ready for human consumption, assess their probability of succeeding, and then create a scenario of a future market, and therefore what jobs may exist? And then of course you can also look at what we’re going to need (as a non-negotiable) in the future, and hope that we very creative human beings create it.

Here are a couple I found really interesting from an article on SmartPlanet.com:

Body Part Maker – Create living body parts for athletes and soldiers.

While this sounds far-fetched and very sci-fi, there is enough evidence to suggest that this job will be a reality. Ian Goldin in his TED talk, suggests that by 2030 there will be no more special olympics based on our ability, by then, to regenerate human body parts.

Vertical Farmers: The future of farming is straight up. Vertical farms in urban areas could significantly increase food supply.

When one considers the challenge we have with a heavily populated world, where land is becoming more and more scarce, the only option we have is to ‘go up’. Horizontal growth in farming will soon no longer be an option. We’re going to have to find ways to grow our food vertically.

Weather Modification Police: If weather patterns can be altered and adversely affect other parts of the world, law enforcement will be needed to keep things legal.

The technology already exists to manipulate weather. Specifically rainfall. It’s not perfect and it doesn’t always get the results hoped for, but in a world in which countries can cause rain, or stop it, there are certainly going to be implications to their neighbours, next door and on the other side of the planet. Some sort of enforcement is going to be necessary when one country can flood another, or cause a drought.

Virtual clutter organizer: Now that your electronic life is more cluttered than your physical one, you’ll need someone to clean things up — including your e-mail, desktop and user accounts.

A high-tech maid if you like. As crazy as it seems, of the four I’ve mentioned this is the one I can least imagine. Perhaps it’s my ego expecting that I’ll always be able to manage myself digitally? I also imagine that this type of position, while not in demand now, is already showing signs of emerging with some people who struggle with their gadgets and technology.

Here are another five that I’ll simply list:

  • Genetic Counselor
  • Space Tour Guide and Driver
  • Wind Turbine Technician
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Climate Change Reversal Specialist

Let me end with a completely ‘left-field’ thought. A thought in which work and jobs almost completely cease to exist! It’s a quote from Metafuture.org, in an article, ‘Will our children have jobs in the future?’

“But there is a deeper problem that Jeremy Rifken in his classic book, ‘The End of Work’, has identified. Unless there is a sustained global depression, in the long run the most likely future is that of a jobless slow growth, where 20% work and 80% do something else.  Training, job compacts and other solutions while important for the next 20 years, offer little for the long term. In that horizon, the real challenge will be seeing ourselves as more than  workers. It is thinking of our futures in post-scarcity terms, discovering and creating that “something else.” Unless we can think of ourselves outside our historical work identities, we will enter a future world where the one thing that has defined us, not just the job, but work itself, won’t be available.”


P.S. I was recently interviewed on 702 on the Redi Tlhabi show around this topic. The show was recorded under Redi’s PodCast ‘The Best of Redi Tlhabi’. If you’d like to listen to the interview click here.

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