‘Fastest growing occupations will be jobs that don’t even exist today’

Want to know what jobs might be available for your children, or what you should be retraining in? In Fast Future’s 2040 foresight survey, a global network of future thinkers say that future generations will be working in roles that don’t even exist today or are only just starting to emerge.

As businesses look to seize on the efficiencies that Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers, many jobs are due to become automated to reduce headcount and costs. In their place, expect to see the growth  of opportunities in autonomous transport, rapid construction, the greening of housing, atomically precise manufacturing, the crypto economy, mixed reality technosports, and in virtual metaverse businesses.

However, with a growing global population, continuing advances in healthcare, and rising life expectancy, the biggest areas of growth could be in the health and wellness sector. 75% of respondents believe that occupations such as brain and body augmentation technicians, whole life therapists, and personal health and wellness curators will be among the most sought after and widely available jobs in the future.

A total of 297 leading futurist, academics and future thinkers from around the world, working in 35 different sectors, took part in the 2040 Foresight Survey designed by expert futurist Rohit Talwar from Fast Future, and undertaken to explore future thinkers’ responses to topics covered in the recently launched book Aftershocks and Opportunities 2: Navigating the Next Horizon.

Rohit explains:  “As existing sectors automate and reduce headcounts, the question arises over where displaced bank staff, lawyers, retail assistants, civil servants, and production workers will find employment. Businesses in emerging sectors from synthetic biology to 3D printed manufacturing and autonomous vehicles are all coming to market with highly automated models requiring far fewer workers for each pound or dollar of revenue generated. This means we could face an acute jobs shortage. In response, to secure their own livelihoods, many displaced individuals will look to work in entirely new fields and professions or create their own businesses. These could be in new sectors that are already on a growth path, or in ones that could emerge in the next two decades.”

Over half (54%) of the future thinkers agreed that by 2040 robots and artificial intelligence (AI) would be performing the majority of everyday roles in the workplace and across society – from lawyers, police officers, and teachers through to chefs, pilots, and journalists. Almost half (49%) also believe accelerating automation could result in over 50% of the workforce being permanently unemployed and living on a guaranteed basic income, in return for undertaking continuous personal development and performing a range of community services.

Rohit continues:  “Historically, we’ve seen a proportion of roles, jobs, and even entire sections of some professions be eliminated every few years through changes in the nature of work, process re-engineering, and task automation. The pace of automation is now accelerating, and investment in AI around the globe is estimated to be over US$1 trillion. In every sector and profession, the technology has been seen to outperform humans is some or all aspects of the roles undertaken. Hence, the near term payoff from such investments will largely be in headcount reduction. In the medium to longer term, these technology advances could lead to the opening up of new markets, new revenue opportunities, and new job creation.”