How do you fancy a job as a town crier? Or what about a leech collector? Perhaps a lamplighter? These are all jobs that played an important part in daily life just a few centuries or even decades ago.
Yet today, they’re unheard of (apart from just five London lamplighters). Either modern technology or modern medicine have made their jobs redundant.
While it may not have been upsetting for the people working in those jobs, would you personally want to work as a manual pinsetter at a bowling alley, standing right behind the bins and in the firing line for the heavy bowling balls?
You probably wouldn’t want the job of a “knocker-upper” either. That was someone who had to get up early, of their own accord, and go from door to door waking everyone up in person since alarm clocks hadn’t yet been invented.
Throughout history, the jobs that humans have done have changed a lot. What has remained constant though, is that people are still needed to do work. Over time, the work has moved from the fields to the factories, and then from the factories to the offices.
Today’s Job Market is Unrecognisable
The job market today looks completely different to when the people hitting retirement age now first started work. Computers and the Internet have revolutionised life in just a short few years; administration jobs have been replaced by lines of 1s and 0s, retail jobs have been replaced with warehouse jobs for e-commerce giants, and typists and telephone exchange operators have been replaced with internet marketing jobs.
Manufacturing jobs have also moved. Companies took advantage of globalisation and moved their factories to regions where it was cheaper to manufacture products. Clothing factories, which were once a major part of the economies of the UK, the US, and other western countries, moved to Bangladesh, Turkey, China, and elsewhere in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
Plan For the Future
If you’re deciding on what subject to get a degree in, you shouldn’t just be considering what the jobs of today will be. You need to be looking decades into the future. Of course, it is nearly impossible to predict this precisely, but giving some thought to the general direction that we are heading in will give you an advantage.
Automation is going to significantly alter the way some tasks are performed. Some jobs will be replaced, while others will still be required. For example, there are many people currently employed in driving jobs, such as taxis, delivery drivers, and people who drive articulated trucks long distances. These have a 97.8% chance of being replaced in the future, thanks to the development of driverless cars.
Other jobs that require manual labour will also likely be replaced, although there will likely be new roles created for the people designing and maintaining robots that will do these jobs.
The jobs most at risk from automation are typically those that involve repetitive tasks either physical or mental. The ones that remain will likely be those that involve nuanced decision making, creativity, and the forming of personal relationships.
This means that more administrative jobs in professional spheres like finance and law could also be at risk.
Jobs of the Future
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Jobs in renewable and sustainable energy are likely to boom. As we wean ourselves off fossil fuels, we’ll likely see more jobs required to develop, build, and maintain new sustainable energy sources.
Space may also become an area that more than just a select few humans will be able to go to. If this is the case, then many more jobs will be created in the space sector.
It’s also likely we will continue to need doctors, nurses, and teachers. These are all jobs that rely on human interaction as well as specialist knowledge of physical work. These are jobs that have all managed to stay relevant as many others around us have been replaced.
The job market has changed throughout the entire history of work. As the world has changed around us, humans have simply changed the jobs that they do. This will continue into the future, and the most successful workers will be those that can adapt to the changing environment.