Jobs of the future: 5 career fields that are thriving
Published on 31st May, 2021 at 10:23 am
Want to know which degrees or credentials are likely to pay off in the long term when it comes to you or your child’s career? Here are five of the skills to focus on.
Inspirational quotes have for a long time led us to believe that if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. This, however, is not necessarily good advice. With more career prospects out there than ever before, there is even more pressure to find your passion and pursue only what brings you joy. Despite all the options available, a 2019 global poll by Gallup revealed that 85% of the world’s workforce are unhappy in their jobs.
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Career experts quoted in publications from Forbes to The New York Times are recommending a different approach: instead of pursuing your passion, try to develop a passion for a job you can do well. This might not seem like the satisfying route, but it can be a safer and more lucrative one. The way we and the world view careers is also undergoing a shift. According to Futurist, Economist and Business Trends Analyst at Flux Trends, Bronwyn Williams, there will be more fluid types of working arrangements. “Soon, one’s work will be about selling your time and adding value rather than necessarily having a conventional career,” she explains. “This means that people won’t only benefit from skills for a particular job function, but equally ones that can add value to society.”
Are you an adult looking to upskill and diversify your offerings, or are looking at smart choices for your kids now to benefit them in the future? Here are five of the career fields that are thriving, and the in-demand skills needed to secure long-term employment.
#1: Technology sector
Just like the rest of the world, the technology sector in South Africa continues to grow. The National Development Plan even identifies science, technology and innovation as primary drivers of economic growth and job creation now and in the future.
This doesn’t only relate to skills in data engineering, coding and blockchain technology. “The tech space doesn’t only need people who can build, but also those who can interpret technologies and apply them to real life,” says Williams.
One need only look to business magnate Elon Musk to know that biohacking is going to be big business. Since 2016, Tesla has been working on Neuralink – an AI-powered chip that is implanted in people’s brains to allow movement using only the mind.
For children or adults with an interest in science, biology and technology, and how they can be synthesised to improve our quality of life, this career path can be both satisfying and stable.
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#3: Leadership roles
“Something that South Africa is lacking are real leadership skills,” explains Williams. “This doesn’t refer to management, but rather those who can articulate a vision, build new ideas or steer the ship in the right direction.”
These skills, however, are not ones that are taught at educational institutions. They are gained by practice, not studying, and are learnt through on-the-job experience and over time, making it a viable career path for driven individuals.
#4: Problem solvers
Do you, or your child, have good problem-solving abilities? These are crucial in the job sector at large. This democratic ‘soft skill’ requires no schooling, lasts longer, and can be applied across different fields.
“People who can pre-emptively solve problems within the ever-evolving tech sector are in increasing demand,” reveals Williams. “This will include jobs that look at the ethics and repercussions of technology to make sure that new developments are helping humans rather than alienating them.”
#5: Life-sustaining sectors
According to the Stats SA’s Living Conditions Survey (LCS), 49.2% of the South African adult population live below the poverty line. As such, skills needed for creating sustainable energy, food and water security are essential.
“More and more, tech companies are investing in agriculture, water and energy. These sectors – the ones essential for human life – continue to grow in SA and across the globe,” says Williams. A career in this field will not only guarantee long-term employment, but will help you do your bit for the country and its economy.
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