There’s little doubting the employment landscape has been transformed in recent years. From the ongoing rise of machines in manufacturing and production to the seemingly incessant growth of the web and tech in more traditional office environments, the modern workplace is almost unrecognizable to that of even just a decade ago. Robots and systems are revolutionizing how – and where – employees work and are beginning to shape the career opportunities of the future.

What is Industry 4.0?

Technology is now starting to play such an important and integral role in both our work and social lives that most experts agree we are on the cusp of entering a new age – a proposed fourth industrial revolution (often dubbed Industry 4.0). As the capabilities and sophistication of systems and machines increase, many of the jobs we consider secure today could likely vanish in the years to come.

The coronavirus effect

While the health implications of the recent coronavirus pandemic were tragic on a global scale, there is little denying the virus has changed how we think about work. As a result of the distancing and lockdown measures imposed by governments around the world to try and curb the spread of COVID-19, companies had to reimagine the modern workplace and came to rely more than ever on tech, the web, and automation to stay afloat.

Almost without exception, the companies that weathered the COVID-19 storm best were those that had already embraced web, e-com, and cloud technologies – to the point some even profited. However, this increased shift towards (and reliance upon) tech also led to an entirely new phenomenon – namely, the realization by many firms that some roles previously occupied by humans could be equally well performed (if not better performed) by machines.

The age of the pointless job

While many would (rightly) argue that computers and tech are streamlining modern working practices and helping firms achieve greater efficiency and productivity, the incessant shift to tech has given rise to the so-called ‘pointless job’ – roles that computers or robots can do better. Perhaps more worryingly, as companies move more toward automation and machines (and the sophistication and capabilities of these systems increase), it’s highly likely we will see more and more jobs become obsolete.

Positions that have yet to be invented

Just like the industrial revolutions that preceded it, Industry 4.0 is giving rise to technologies that previously didn’t exist – and, likewise, creating a need for new and exciting roles that weren’t even imagined just ten years ago. For example, industry analysts now suggest data is the most valuable commodity in the world – outstripping the value of traditional heavyweights such as gold and oil. Yet very few would have understood the concept of data analysis even a decade ago. As our technologies change and evolve, so we will likely see yet more roles invented to keep systems and machines running at optimal levels.

Choosing a job with the greatest security

With so much insecurity existing in the jobs market already, it’s becoming harder and harder for job seekers to identify roles that are likely to offer the greatest security in the future. Jobs and career options are changing at an almost frightening pace making many people question if any career path can offer true, future-proof security.

If you’re worried about your future employment prospects and are looking for a job that will offer the greatest longevity and prospects, below are some ideas:

Policing, nursing, and other emergency services: While tech is undoubtedly changing how our emergency services respond and helping the police and medical teams improve their services, we’re still a very long way off a time when machines could realistically usurp these critical roles. The decision-making, caring, and empathetic skills required for each of these tasks simply aren’t within the realm of robots (yet). Moreover, each of these roles offers a structured and secure path into management if you spend enough years and have the right qualifications. For example, taking a police studies degree could fast-track you up the career ladder, giving you increased responsibilities and improved wages.

Data analysis: As mentioned earlier, data is now the driving force in most businesses across the world – from studying in-house operational efficiency to predicting upturns/downturns and recording client behavior. This trend for data-driven streamlining will only increase in the future – meaning having a relevant data-related qualification or experience will surely help keep you in high demand.

Software developer: The old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them”, and there can be little doubting the impact software and systems have had on our modern world. Software development is a complex area with many different facets and roles – anything from user interface (UI) design to laying out graphics and, of course, the real nuts and bolts – programming. Studying any software-related qualification should ensure a steady flow of work opportunities in the future. Also, despite the fact AI systems are now capable of writing code, computers still fundamentally lack the creative ability to devise systems independently (at least for now).

Speech or language therapist: Much like a career in nursing, the people skills and need for empathy/creativity that are the backbone of language therapy aren’t within the grasp of machines. Moreover, this sector is predicted to grow by as much as 25% by 2029 – meaning job security should be virtually assured.

Veterinarian: Again, another caring role that machines and software simply can’t perform. While tech may be improving diagnosis and the forms of treatment vets might administer, this role requires decision-making, prognosis, and hands-on operating skills that machines massively lack.

IT manager: With IT now making such a dramatic impact across all spheres of business, it should come as little wonder that having the skills to design, develop, and maintain IT networks will remain in demand for many years to come. Even as firms move increasingly to cloud-based networking, the need for an in-house expert still endures for most companies – while opportunities working for dedicated IT businesses are also mushrooming.

By Manali