The world can change pretty fast. Think back to 20 years ago. How different were things? How much have careers changed in that time?
When you’re trying to plan for the long-term, there’s a lot to consider. In terms of career viability, there are two primary concerns: society and technology. Technology will change every single job in the next 20 years, and automation is likely to make many jobs disappear. It’s important to know which jobs will still be around.
Similarly, society is going to change. The things people care about can shift. Economies will certainly adapt and evolve. Which careers get left behind? Which ones stay viable?
Predicting the future is always a challenge, but there are four types of jobs that are definitely here to stay.
Health care is probably the most stable and reliable industry in the world right now. Certainly, techniques and technologies will change over the next 20 years, but one way or another, people will still need health care, and there will be people attached to providing it.
In fact, health care is expected to expand as an industry over the next 20 years. Part of this is because the population is still growing, and at the same time, the population is getting older too. That means more health care demand all around.
On top of that, healthcare technology is rapidly advancing. You might think that automation puts people out of jobs, but in some cases (like health care), it actually increases the amount of work being done. Computer systems and advanced artificial intelligence can assist doctors in diagnosing issues and prescribing care, but they are nowhere near replacing human beings in hospitals and clinics. If anything, healthcare providers are expanding, including more technology jobs alongside traditional roles like nurses and doctors. For the foreseeable future, health care is the place to be for a stable career.
Trades usually refer to jobs that involve skilled labor. Carpenters, welders, x-ray technicians, and countless other skilled jobs fit into this category. If it requires a certification but not necessarily a degree, it’s probably a trade.
Why are trades going to remain viable in the next 20 years?
These jobs are the hardest to automate. By all means, trades see advances in technology like any other field, but most of those tools are designed to assist skilled labor rather than replace it. Simply put, it’s hard to write a computer program that can fix your plumbing, and skilled robots are still a lot more expensive than skilled labor. So, trade skills live in a perfect region where they will benefit from technology rather than be replaced by it.
More importantly, trades are recession-proof. No matter what happens with society, people still need access to essential skills.
Engineering is in a particularly good place right now. Who do you think is going to design all of the artificial intelligence and robots that are set to replace so many jobs?
As technology advances, engineers become even more important. In a sense, engineering is really becoming an advanced trade. We increasingly need people with the right skills and knowledge to fix complicated technology. More importantly, the demand for new and improved technology is only increasing. Engineers sit at the heart of it all, and they have some of the brightest career prospects as a result.
As much as we all like the idea of peace and stability, it’s unlikely that humanity will resolve all conflicts over the next 20 years. That means that professional soldiers will remain a part of most societies. It’s not a career that appeals to everyone, but it will certainly be viable in the future.
You might think that automation is a threat to military careers, but that’s not exactly right. The first autopilot flight happened in 1912, yet autopilot technology has never taken a single job away from a pilot. Even unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) still have a human pilot; they just fly remotely. This is the nature of modern military technology. The jobs are definitely changing, but the necessity of military services isn’t going away. The tasks you might do in the military in 20 years could change dramatically, but you’ll still have a career.