Jobs of tomorrow: six professions to consider thanks to new technologies

By Spandas Lui

There’s a lot of talk about how technology and, by extension, automation can potentially rob humans of their jobs. That’s a scary prospect but a report release by the Australian Computing Society (ACS) and the CSIRO highlights that the outlook may not be so bleak. Technology has the ability to augment the way we work and create some new job categories in the future. The ACS has listed out a few jobs we should keep an eye out for in the coming years.

Australia’s employment landscape has changed considerably in the last few decades; University degrees alone may not guarantee a job, intangible “soft skills” are now prized by recruiters, and technology has inherently changed the way we work. The continued development of smart machines and artificial intelligence has shown us that technology can fulfill certain tasks that human can do, which has generated some panic around robots potentially stealing our jobs.

But do we really have cause for concern? While technology has made certain occupations and industries redundant (hello, video rental stores), it has the ability to complement human labour. There are many opportunities for human workers to become more productive by working with new technologies.

The ACS, CSIRO and other commercial collaborators analysed existing employment data and interviewed a range of experts in this area to release the Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce report. The paper used the example of bank tellers to highlight how the introduction of technology doesn’t necessarily result in reduced employment. While ATMs took over a lot of the tasks these tellers were doing, it gave existing workers the opportunity to upskill and sell a wider ranges of financial services.

Additionally, the report noted:

Australia has seen no absolute decline in employment at any skill level, though there has been a notable increase in the relative numbers of higher skilled jobs. Unlike in the US, all incomes have grown across the distribution, rather than just among the highest paid.

The Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce report then looked at the kinds of jobs that we can look forward to in the future as a result of applying new technologies to various industries and how existing roles can be transformed. The ACS and CSIRO came up with six occupations that we can expect to see in the next decade:

#1 Specialised Big Data Analysts

We already know there is a huge demand for big data and data analysts. Specialised data analysts that deal with large datasets will be required in the future, particularly in the fields of machine learning, automation, cybersecurity, encryption and distributed cloud-based systems across various industries.

#2 Complex Decision Support Analysts

It’s always hard to make decisions in a business and with the torrents of data that is available to us now, being decision has become even more difficult. That’s where complex decision support analysts come in. Their job is to analyse and interpret information to identify options and advise organisations on which ones to implement.

According to the report:

Options once hidden from view are now visible, and part of the selection set. Consumers, procurement specialists, recruitment agencies, stockbrokers, investment bankers and many others need to entertain more options which pass the initial screen…
Decision support analysts of the future will increasingly be concerned with solving tactical and strategic choice problems.

#3 Remote Controlled Vehicle Operators

Drones and unmanned vehicles are on the rise. Even Amazon is looking to do drone deliveries. This opens up opportunities for specialists in controlling these machines.

#4 Customer Experience Experts

Online shopping has revolutionised the way we buy things. This has been a blow to operators of physical stores and it is expected that this will give rise to customer experience experts who will find novel ways to entice customers back to real bricks-and-mortars shops.

#5 Personalised Preventative Health Helpers

This category covers people who have the ability to understand and interpret health and wellbeing related information and apply them to clients in a holistic way:

They will help their clients avoid chronic and diet-related illness, improve cognitive function, achieve improved mental health and achieve improved lifestyles overall. They will make use of information technology and provide personalised support/guidance to a number of clients and maintain close contact over time. The recent trends in personal fitness trainers provide some insight to how this profession may expand, diversify and develop over the coming decades.

#6 Online Chaperones

These folks will help individuals and small businesses with managing online risks such as identify theft, reputational damage, social media bullying and harassment and internet fraud. Considering millions of people and businesses fall victim to cybercrime every year, demand for online chaperones is likely to increase.

This article first appeared on Lifehacker.