The Most In-Demand Jobs of the 2020s
Looking forward at the next decade, we cannot be entirely sure which job roles will be in the most demand, but we can make some educated guesses. After all, we are not yet privy to the new discoveries and inventions which, as we know from history, can have a profound impact on global society. Before the advent of modern oil exploration, the invention of the combustion engine, and of the internet, most of the population was oblivious to the changes which would later occur as a result of these innovations. In this article, based on what we do know, we will jump five to ten years from now, to determine the hottest occupations of the next decade.
Data, data, and more data
If you think we have lots of data now, just wait until 2030. 5G and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) will further accelerate the collection of data, on just about every conceivable dimension. Everything in our modern lives will become 'connected', and as a result will be sending vast amounts of data back to the 'cloud'. And it will be for 'Data Scientists' and other specialists in the field of data to make sense of it. Data Scientists will be in demand across all industry sectors, and will have the not inconsiderable challenge of turning raw data into valuable insights, to inform business strategy, steer marketing efforts, improve efficiency, save money, make more money, and make discoveries.
According to a report written by the Royal Society entitled, 'Dynamics of data science skills', the demand for workers with data skills has more than tripled in the past five years. Professor Andrew Blake, the Chair of the Royal Society's working group on data science, states, "Capturing, interpreting and being informed by data can radically transform a business, so it is only natural that employers are catching on to the potential of hiring data experts. This report shows the British economy has high demand for people with data skills, particularly at the advanced end of the spectrum, where businesses are crying out for professionals to unlock the potential of new technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence".
The society is also calling for a radical reshaping of the education system over the next ten years to ensure more individuals are skilled up for specialist data science work. They also recommend that more needs to be done to encourage people into academic research in this field, rather than being drawn away by lucrative corporate careers.
Information security will be a strategic necessity
Only in the last few weeks, the media has covered the possibility that Iran may seek to retaliate against the US and its allies by using non-conventional means, including cyberattacks. Companies globally are now taking cyber threats more seriously than ever before. According to research by business insurance specialists, Hiscox, 55% of businesses in the UK faced a cyber attack in 2019; a rise of 15% from 2018. And to compound matters, nearly 75% of businesses are ranked as 'novices' when it comes to cyber readiness. Inevitably cybersecurity maturity will need to rise across all sectors in the coming decade. Not only are businesses desperate to protect themselves from attacks which may render them inoperable, directors know that they may be personally liable in the event of a cyber breach. Furthermore, businesses know that millennials will not tolerate a lax approach to their data, and will seek to buy from businesses that take data security seriously.
For all of these reasons, cybersecurity specialists are now, and will likely remain, on the UK government's shartage occupation list. A recent cyber workforce study revealed that across the EMEA region, there is now a chronic shortfall of professionals in this area; a shortage of 291,000 in 2019, up from 142,000 in 2018. The problem being for the UK is that in light of Brexit, much will need to be done to attract cyber tech talent from within the EU and outside. We expect something of a 'bun fight' to occur over the next few years for companies desperate to hire and retain the best cybersecurity skills, thereby driving up salaries and packages being offered to those working in this area.
Based on the level of staff shortages within the NHS, and the fact this will likely become more acute following Brexit, medical staff will be in insatiable demand. The shortage occupation list currently includes several medical roles, including nurses, allied health professionals, and medical practitioners; highlighting the drive by the government to bring such skills into the country. It is estimated the NHS is currently experiencing a shortage of approximately 100,000 staff members, and this may rise to between 250,000 and 350,000 by 2030, depending on how easy the government makes it to recruit people from abroad. While a great deal is being done to seek and drive efficiency into the delivery of healthcare, the ageing population is only going to continue to place pressure on a system which is already at breaking point. For this reason, it is almost a certainty that in 2030, the media will be covering stories on the unmet demand for medical personnel in the UK.
Trade negotiator skills will be in urgent demand
For our final offering, we are branching away from technology and medicine into an occupational area which will be in large demand due directly to Brexit. The UK will inevitably find itself needing to draw up new bilateral trade arrangements with many other countries over the coming decade and beyond. As a result, there is currently a large unmet need for trained trade negotiators and policymakers. Last year, ex-Secretary for Trade, Liam Fox, stated that a new generation of trade negotiators would need to be trained up. Those who have a background in this field, or wish to be considered for training, should contact the Department of Trade and Industry, and enquire about the International Trade Training Scheme.
Looking ahead at the next decade
For individuals with determination and tenacity, the next decade will provide considerable opportunities for fascinating and rewarding work at the cutting edge. It is never too late to retrain or move into a new career. We wish you well in your future career choices; the opportunities are there for the taking.