Career megatrends of the next decade: Will your job be automated?

Jessica Satherley
Career megatrends of the next decade: Will your job be automated?
It’s worth thinking about the industries that have the best potential for growth for the 2020s

Over the last decade we saw the colossal rise of social media and renewable energy companies, but what career megatrends will shape this new decade? 

Whether you’re deciding what degree to study or which career to pursue, it’s worth thinking about the industries that have the best potential for growth. 

REDnews spoke to the UK’s best-selling careers author and leading international career expert James Innes about his predictions for the 2020s: 

 

What will be the biggest industries of the 2020s? 

In a time where automation is taking over jobs, what careers are ‘safe’? 

What are the best degrees to study now at university? 

Should people who are mid-career keep training and upskilling? 

What is the best way to start diversifying your skillset while in a job? 

What are the best ways to be recruited in 2020? 

 

Photo of James Innes

James Innes is a best-selling careers author

What will be the biggest industries of the 2020s? 

“The number one industry is technology, which sounds nebulous, but it's an increasingly diverse area,” Innes says. 

“There is massive growth in tech, from cyber security to artificial intelligence and virtual reality, so this industry is at the top of my list. 

“But beyond tech, there are a number of growth areas, such as health care. 

“We have an aging population and we need homecare. 

"People are also more aware of their health than ever before.  

“There are people getting their DNA tested, freezing umbilical cords in case they might want to use their stem cells in 30 years and much more is going on.  

"People today in their 20s and 30s are much healthier than their parents’ generation, they are smoking less and taking their health more seriously,” he says. 

Innes also says that despite sustainable energy being a growth sector, oil, gas, mining and fracking are still growth industries for the next decade. 

“Demand is still increasing, which is for pure economic growth. Fracking is expanding despite solar and wind energy being big industries. 

“E-commerce and online retail is the other area of growth, which includes creative new media,” he says.  

 

In a time where automation is taking over jobs, what careers are ‘safe’? 

"Computers and automation are taking over completely, so think about what computers can’t do. 

“There are elements of the human brain that can’t be replaced yet, such as in the creative fields and human interaction. 

“Nursing, hospitality and teaching children are areas that need the human touch end emotion. 

"If you were on your honeymoon in Indonesia and you were welcomed by a robot, would you be happy with such an impersonal interaction? 

“Certain industries need that human interaction.   

“Journalism and news readers also need a human personality.   

“Robots can’t tell a story like a human can yet,” Innes says. 

Photo of a florist

Creative and artistic careers could be safe from being automated

 

What are the best degrees to study now at university? 

“Medicine is worth pursuing, including medical research, physiotherapy, nursing or veterinary studies. 

“Anything in the IT realm can be a highly profitable career, if you’re interested in it.  I still believe that you need to be passionate about what you do to become successful. 

“I also recommend the creative sectors if that’s your passion. 

“English, literature, music and art are industries which cannot yet be automated. 

“The arts are something that humans do exceptionally well and at least for the next decade, robots can’t compete with us,” Innes says. 

 

Should people who are mid-career keep training and upskilling? 

“It’s absolutely vital to keep training. 

“I'm shocked by people who don’t do anything on that front, if they got one degree and never kept training.  

“It's so important to keep strengthening your CV to compete with other candidates and differentiate from others.  

Photo of networking event

Networking can help when looking for your next career move

“You need to future proof your line of work and think about what impact the future will have on your career direction. 

“Ask yourself what the likely impact on your job is, because there aren’t many jobs that won’t be impacted by the development of the future.   

“Don’t commit to being on just one career path forever, think of going left or right, think about what you are passionate about and think about specialising and working into a niche,” Innes says. 

 

What is the best way to start diversifying your skillset while in a job? 

“If you’re in a good company, your employer should be pushing that agenda and be a driving force of your development. 

“But you will ultimately be responsible for your own career path.  

“Don’t just rely on your employer. Do your own research and take the lead,” he says. 

Photo of girl on laptop

Making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date is vital when looking for work

 

What are the best ways to be recruited in 2020?  

“I am a big believer in recruitment agencies, but it depends on the employer. 

"In terms of cost, LinkedIn is much cheaper, so a lot of employers use that to recruit for new roles. 

"LinkedIn has seen huge growth over the last five years, so it’s vital that you have a strong presence on that platform.  

“People underestimate the importance of LinkedIn.  It has reached a critical mass where it’s vital to have a good profile because a lot of employers are turning to that. 

“But in saying that, don’t put all your eggs into one basket.  Have other irons in the fire, don’t be passive, go to recruitment agencies and look at newspaper ads,” he says. 

 

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