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We are starting a new series. In these articles about the future, we’ll dig into which professional areas will develop and which are bound to die out, how startups can follow the blue ocean strategy and what areas are unpromising. Let’s start with the professions of the future, which are already appearing in some parts of the world. After all, as the American writer William Gibson said: “The Future Has Arrived — It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed Yet”.
We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
It’s no surprise the world is changing, except for how fast these changes are. 100 years ago you could open a company, understand that the chosen business model is successful, and keep working, conquering markets, gradually increasing profits and adjusting your strategy. Today this path is a dead end, which is evident in many areas. Uber is replacing taxis, Airbnb is successfully competing with hotel bookings. The same is happening with professions. Menial work is automated, and some of the jobs we are used to are now basically “retired” as they are bound to disappear in the next 5–10 years. If you do not keep up with the trends and market developments, it is very easy to miss an opportunity for change and lose your job or business.
And before we move on to describing the jobs of the future, let’s consider the main trends that will determine the workplace in the 21st century. According to «Skills of the future» report by experts from Global Education Futures and WorldSkills Russia, these are the following:
A few days ago Louvre digitized its entire collection that amounts to almost half a million works of art. Every year there will be more and more digitized data, and their analysis will help make decisions in different areas: economy, medicine, culture, politics.
2. Automation and robotization
These two trends will significantly change the role and meaning of human labor: all simple, repetitive and understandable processes will be given to robots. People, in turn, will be involved in complex, creative processes. Some people who cannot compete with robots will find themselves unemployed.
3. Demographic changes
Thanks to the development of medicine, life expectancy will increase, while a more conscious approach to raising children will reduce the birth rate. The role of women in the global economy will also continue to grow.
4. Formation of a network community
The whole world will be interconnected through various network services: social networks for communication and exchange of opinions, blockchain technology for information management, international payments, copyright protection and other functions.
Until recently, the creation and consumption of products was limited to a certain territory, and today it is worldwide. Thus, the wings of an Airbus aircraft are made in the UK, the fuselage is assembled in France, and the stabilizers are manufactured in Spain. Cultural codes, scientific inventions and production chains all cease to have clear boundaries and start spreading across the planet.
The global problems of the state of the environment are becoming more acute. That is why ecological principles will enter our daily life and will become fundamental in the construction of cities, in the development of business processes and marketing strategies of companies.
The impact of all these trends will manifest itself at different levels and in various professional fields. But, what is especially important, they will change the entire workplace system, replacing some professions and creating new ones.
Let’s take a closer look at the professions that seemed unbelievable 5 years ago, but already exist today.
This job is a mix of ecology, architecture and urbanism. The main tasks it fulfills include:
Creating a balance between the city and nature so that they do not interfere with each other.
Making megalopolises independent, so that cities exist at the expense of their own resources and their own electricity, mainly using alternative sources of energy, producing as little waste as possible and reproducing the main resources on their own.
Creating cities with a high index of comfort and convenience that all people will enjoy living in.
Analyzing the problems of and developing existing cities as well as proposing intelligent and comprehensive changes to transform them.
Creating and developing “green spaces”: urban gardens, parks, squares, integrating them into buildings, the so-called eco-houses.
Communicating with initiatives, government agencies and investors — after all, the success of the projects of the urbanist-ecologist will depend on their decision.
Such “green” cities are already being built in the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, China and South Korea. The principles of this profession are used to improve cities in Western Europe.
An example of the work of urban environmentalists is a park in the Chinese city of Tianjin. A number of environmental problems prompted its creation:
a large septic tank for sewage and rainwater within the city, which protected the sea from the ingress of dirty water, but did not improve the life of the inhabitants of Tianjin;
the 2015 explosion at a chemical plant in Tianjin, which severely undermined the city’s reputation;
finding Tianjin on the path of one of the nine global migratory routes of birds, which, due to the high density of buildings and drainage of swamps, had nowhere to land during the migration.
As a result, a park was created that combined the atmosphere of a picturesque coastline and space for sports and outdoor recreation, that helped to landscape the surrounding area, improve the ecological situation in the city, turn the park into a place for filtering water and resting migratory birds.
It’s a young but very promising field of medicine. A professional in this area will have to:
Analyze the genetic material and the likelihood of a particular hereditary disease in a patient.
Investigate diseases that are caused by bacterial and viral infections.
Help with pregnancy planning. Analyze the risk of various hereditary diseases in the baby.
Potentially, genome analysis can even help determine which profession a person will be inclined to.
The most famous service that is already engaged in commercial decoding of genetic material is the American company 23andMe. You can find out what your DNA says about you and your family for just $99. What nationalities are present in your genes, how DNA affects your appearance, what part of your genes have you inherited from a Neanderthal. All data will be provided in the form of a report. Company employees will offer you to join the “genetic social network”, where you can find relatives and people similar to you.
Tourism is changing before our eyes as most people no longer want to waste time on the beach or visit common places that are more crowded than the New Year’s fair. And with the end of the pandemic vocation expectations will again begin to grow. People will start looking for more, including for tours that combine rest and education. The profession of customized tours directors will appear as a response to this. Here is what a specialist in this field should be able to do:
Determine what customers want from their rest (even though we ourselves do not understand what we sometimes want) — and here we need knowledge of the basics of psychology and the ability to communicate and listen correctly.
Design customized tours: from schedule and accommodation to flights and activities.
Select and combine educational, sports, health, entertainment programs with recreation.
Conduct tours, collect feedback, improve and refine your programs.
So far, this profession is just beginning to emerge, and people working in different fields start creating individual tours. These are educational programs tutors, journalists, museum employees and others. For example, a few years ago, Evgenia Chernyavskaya from Belarus launched Startup tours to Israel for entrepreneurs and investors. During the trip, the participants get acquainted with the work of large corporations, investment funds and startups, visit companies, talk with founders, and enjoy the nature and architecture of Israel — a kind of combo tour for those interested.
A person who knows how your brain works, how you make decisions and uses that knowledge to sell products and promote brands. More precisely:
Gathers focus groups and examines the influence of various factors on the brain: smells, sounds, tastes.
Analyzes the received data and offers clients an algorithm of actions to attract buyers: spray certain smells, turn on special music.
Tests applications and websites: for example, measures the trajectory of a person’s pupils on a web page and determines the best places for buttons, advertising banners, and selling headlines.
Teaches you how to properly sell and promote your products.
PSYCHEA is a Russian company that has built its business strategy around this profession: they offer the knowledge of their specialists in the field of customer behavior management. Their employees have knowledge in psychology, behavioral economics, sociology, branding and sales.
The world is changing and the future has already arrived. It’s up to you if you want to meet it fully prepared or keep complaining that we used to live in a better world. You can explore new areas and develop skills that will be useful in the future or choose a simple and understandable profession that will disappear in 5–10 years. Follow trends or stay in your comfort zone. Start a business in industries that few people understand now or walk the beaten track.
This choice is yours. The future will come anyway. So which side are you on?