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Jobs of the future - Surviving the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Any revolution or change is met with fear and trepidation. Not only is artificial intelligence and automation impacting our daily lives (and what we do to earn a living), but it is also transforming entire industries, how things are made, consumed and even how countries are governed.
Jobs of the future - Surviving the Fourth Industrial Revolution

This raises the question; what impact will it have on jobs and careers over the next few years or decades? CareerJunction, one of SA’s top job boards, offers some insight into this topic.

The answer depends mostly on what career path you choose. While many of today’s occupations will still exist in the future, they will indefinitely transform, and in many cases, occupational categories will overlap with one another to form new roles. This is already happening and the rate at which it is occurring is expected to accelerate over time. So, it’s not to say that AI and automation will necessarily replace most jobs, but rather, will require people to adapt and learn how to use this technology to enhance existing processes. These roles will be focused on skills such as monitoring and operating automated and online processes in conjunction with their existing roles and responsibilities.

What is certain is that the new generation will become increasingly diverse and analytical in their way of thinking. They will continuously adopt new skills and be more adaptable to frequent changes in the workplace and in their roles, as new job roles start to open up and certain skills become obsolete.

According to a World Economic Forum report, The Future of Jobs, here are the 10 skills you will need for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

  1. Complex Problem Solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People Management
  5. Coordinating with Others
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgement and Decision Making
  8. Service Orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive Flexibility

Especially vulnerable are jobs that involve a high level of physical work and repetitive tasks. Most reports suggest those industries hardest hit will be the retail & trade, transportation, agriculture, admin, office & support, accommodation & food services and production & manufacturing industries.

Innately, human characteristics such as creativity and empathy is hard to replace and will be less affected - for now at least - as machines can already be taught to “dream” and paint but often with bizarre consequences. People’s appreciation for these qualities will most likely increase and it’s highly unlikely to fall away. Jobs in cookery, writing, tourism, design and medical care for example, where human qualities are essential, will be more resistant to change.

Other areas that will see a stable demand for years to come according to weforum.org include Media & Entertainment (65% stable), Consumer Products (73% stable), Healthcare (71% stable), Energy (70% stable), Professional Services (67% stable), ICT (65% stable), Mobility (61% stable), Infrastructure (58%) and Financial/Investor services (57% stable).

The biggest change will undoubtedly be the birth of new areas of work where the creation and designing of automated and online processes are concerned. In fact, according to one estimate, almost two-thirds of today's kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that don't currently exist.1

Key industries that will buffer you against the possibility of unemployment in the future include AI, robotics, 3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, autonomous transport, aerospace, genomics (mapping and editing of genomes) and to name but a few.

What becomes evident is that the education system as we know it needs to be changed. The world’s economy will for a long time need a robust workforce, which means making sure that people are employable, for longer. Re-skilling a workforce regularly during a person’s career will become the norm. Widespread disruption is imminent, and therefore, preparation is key.

Visit www.careerjunction.co.za for more information.

1 World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, website last visited on 18 May 2017.

CareerJunction is one of South Africa's top-quality candidate providers, with thousands of jobs advertised online daily and over three million registered jobseekers.

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