Professions in demand in 2050: How to future-proof your child’s career

Malcolm X once said that education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. However, as the world moves into a new age, it is becoming clearer and clearer that what is meant by early childhood education and what is demanded of it is changing, and it’s changing fast.

The greatest disruption is undoubtedly technology. Whilst the coming of the digital age raises fears of unemployment, particularly in the blue-collar industry, it should be noted that tech will in turn create opportunities for skilled human resources. Tech may even completely restructure the meaning of work as we understand it, and to that end, revamped career planning is essential. The second disruption is coming from a two-fold increase in population and an increase in education levels. People with multiple degrees are becoming more and more common, and individuals with highly specialized fields of expertise are more sought after. However, this will eventually break down. As job profiles change and get automated, many specialists may find themselves outdated, giving way to the rise of multi-specialist workers.

There is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the future of work, it is currently estimated that over 65% of children in early childhood education will have jobs in the future that do not yet exist. It is likely that work structures as we understand them will come to break down, and the idea of a singular career becomes moot. We may very well see a future where people tend to work on a more freelance basis, lending out services as and when needed, and being specialists in a variety of fields. The gradual refinement of online learning will allow people to constantly re-skill and up-skill themselves for a job market that will be changing rapidly. This sort of structure is termed as ‘gig economy’ and is what many experts believe the future of work will be.

Professions of relevance in the coming decades

However, despite the above, parents still want to ensure that their children remain successful regardless of how the world changes. Whilst this remains more a factor of the soft skills the child develops, there are still a number of fields and professions that will see steady demand in the years to come. Here are 3 general sectors, which have the most projected growth over the next few decades.

1. Sustainability

With the 2030 deadline for achieving the SDGs growing closer, the world is witnessing a remarkable shift in how societies produce and consume goods. Sustainability professionals will be in high demand over the next few decades, as existing businesses seek to reorient their value chain around sustainability, public sector and development organizations seek to ensure adequate sustainable development and financial institutions become more and more willing to invest in the green economy. Students who pass through a good leadership development program will be able to tackle the challenges that may be presented to them in this respect.

Thus, there are a variety of career options open to students wishing to work in these areas. These range from technical professions such as engineering and research, to more management-oriented and strategic consulting positions, in both the private as well as public sectors.

For example, According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), The renewable energy industry could add $13 trillion to the global economy and create 6 million jobs by 2050, and proper career planning to make the most of these opportunities is essential.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions a few jobs in this field which would be in demand in the future:

  • Solar Photovoltaic Providers: Solar Photovoltaic Providers and Installers are professions that are anticipated to rise by 105% in the near future due to the rising demand for sustainable energy. The median pay for this profession is $42,680.
  • Wind Turbine Engineers : Wind energy is anticipated to be the 2nd largest source of renewable energy in the world after solar energy. Wind Turbine engineers and technician jobs have an estimated growth of 96% in the future. The median pay for this profession is $54,370.

In general, working in this field in any capacity tends to require some degree of technical expertise, and it is advisable to obtain degrees that convey analytical (quantitative and qualitative) skills to the student. A healthy understanding of the science behind sustainability as a whole, be it in renewable energy, waste management, production etc. is recommended for those looking to work in this field.

2. Digital Professions

Information has replaced oil as the most valuable commodity in the world and the line between the physical and the virtual gradually becoming blurred. Digital proficiency, across a variety of disciplines, will become a core skill set for subsequent working generations. A leadership development program would be essential to guide the students who are presently in early childhood education to make the most of the digital transformations there.

  • 1. There is a great demand for individuals who are able to make sense of the massive amounts of data that the digital world generates every day. Professions such as Business Analysts, Statisticians and,Information security analysts, will all grow rapidly in the coming years, as organizations seek to use data to inform strategy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recognises statisticians as one of the fastest-growing professions in the world with a growth rate of 34%. It should however be noted that, without proper regulations, these professions can also be automated as more complex AIs enter the market.
  • 2. Speaking of AI, those capable of working in Machine and Deep learning programming, algorithmic design and the like will be in high demand for the next few decades. Their skills will be needed to develop the next generation of robotics and Artificial intelligence and will find demand for them existing in sectors across the board. Artificial Intelligence is estimated to account for $957 billion or 15% of the present gross value of the Indian economy by 2035. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has pegged the growth of Software Developers at 31%. The current median pay associated with this profession is $103,620. Regardless of their future career, it is recommended for basic coding and programming to become a mandatory skill set for children, simply because of how dependent our world is on the same. Early childhood education needs to take these factors into consideration while designing the curriculums and mode of teaching.

3. The Healthcare industry

The world’s population is aging, and by 2050, even countries such as India, with very young demographics, will become old. Naturally, there will be a rise in the demand for healthcare professionals. It is unlikely that automation will impact the work of doctors and nurses as much, simply because human proximity is an important factor in the healthcare industry. Even with Life-like AIs and robots, it is likely that many patients will still prefer a human to attend to their needs, and thus, career planning for this sector needs to be done accordingly.

Additionally, Healthcare has moved beyond traditional medical professions. People are now more conscious of their well-being than ever. Thus, Professions such as fitness coaches, life coaches, Physical and psychological therapists, those with a specific focus on the elderly and more will also see a resultant increase in demand. For example, demand for Physical Therapists is set to grow by 31% in the coming years and that of Nurses by 36%.

Those with experience in designing healthcare systems, epidemiology and the like will also be in demand, particularly since climate change is predicted to result in more pandemics and epidemics such as the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

All the above being said, none of these professions are completely free from disruption. As mentioned before, it is likely that most of the professions of 2050 do not even exist today, and it is next to impossible to accurately predict they will be, as well as their job security at the time. Whilst there are certain technical skills that would better prepare your child for the future, there is only one truly effective way to do so.

Strengthen fundamental Skills

According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, There are 2 types of skills which are preferred by recruiters, Hard Skills and Soft Skills:

Hard Skills: These are skills that are directly related to your area of expertise and affect your capabilities in performing new tasks.
Eg. Coding languages, digital marketing etc.

Soft Skills: They are skills that are related to behaviour and personality which affect how you perform tasks you are capable of performing.
Eg. Emotional Intelligence, Creativity etc.

Numerous studies have shown that soft skills are essential for the work environment, and never more so than today. As technology and science change the way the world functions, as environmental change, economic fluctuation, and political uncertainty have impacts on global employment, it is relevant to prepare your child for whatever it is that may come in the future, and to that end, something like a leadership development program or a hard skill training program can prove to be some of the best steps taken. As we saw earlier, the incoming ‘gig economy’ will require individuals to be multi-skilled, adaptable and creative. These are core skills that need to be inculcated from an early age. Other examples include:

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Design and programming
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Leadership
  • Complex-problem solving

Making sure that your children are up to date with global trends and market forces is a prerequisite for ensuring their future through their early childhood education. Information can only take your child so far, and for true lasting success, you have to prepare your children to face whatever it is that comes their way. Equip them with core soft skills, and even if one day, they find their skills outdated, they will at the very least be able to teach themselves efficiently and effectively, and in the process of doing so, inspire others to do the same.

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Mangesh Sawant

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