Are you ready? Here are the top 50 jobs of the future It's not all about IT – health and waste will be key sectors
Many of our schoolchildren will live to see and even work in the 22nd Century. In some cases, the careers they'll take on haven't even been invented, but the 50 jobs for the future compiled in today's Irish Independent with the help of industry and recruitment experts will need to be filled.
Thirty years ago, 'Apple' was still a fruit. Fifteen years ago, Google was a funny word. However, the future won't all be gleaming IT offices with fussball tables and hoodies. A looming ecological crisis means dirty work in the form of waste and resource management will be central to the economic well-being of the next two generations, at least. Similarly, the longer we all live, the more care we'll all need in old age – much of that will have to be provided hands-on by "old-fashioned" nurses and doctors. But an ageing population also means rapidly rising demand for products designed and produced by a medical devices sector that will bridge biology, mechanics and chemistry. Our children will also always need teaching. Over time, technology as a sector is likely to fade in importance, but only because the skills required will be to the fore in all sectors.
Those of us who began life with plans of becoming a jet-pack-powered officer in the space police know that predicting future employment trends is a risky business. After seven years of crisis, job prospects may seem bleak for the teens of today, who've seen record jobless rates, mass migration and households struggling to survive. But with unemployment easing and the economy showing signs of recovery, can our school leavers begin to look at the future with some positivity David Coyle, of specialist IT recruitment agency Methodius, said any graduate with a decent IT degree will be guaranteed a job in the coming years.
But he warns teens not just to hone in on the sector because of career prospects, but to study something they enjoy. "Not everybody needs to be a techy, there are areas where you need communication skills like project management," he said. "Some people have a degree in arts and then a post grad in computing is another avenue. "Despite already producing a high percentage of IT graduates, almost a third of people Mr Coyle hires for firms hail from outside Ireland. "We are hoovering great talent from Italy, Spain and Portugal to the detriment of those counties," he added. "But in return we are losing expensively educated nurses and engineers who are enriching Australia and Canada.
"Thousands of new jobs are being created in Ireland's growing digital economy, for tomorrow's IT graduates, experts claim. A rise in online spending, the roll-out of faster broadband, and expansions by some of the biggest hitters in the sector – in systems, software, cloud computing, big data analytics, social technologies and IT security – will go some way to tackle our unemployment rate. Ireland's internet economy is set to more than double in value by 2020, to just over €21bn, with up to 79,000 new jobs to be added, according to a recent study by UPC.
However, many jobs being filled here at the moment did not exist 20 years ago, and it is believed an estimated 60pc of the jobs in 10 years' time have not been invented yet. Luckily, Ireland remains a key location for foreign direct investment and with that comes jobs in a range of sectors like pharmaceuticals, aviation, ICT, R&D and medical devices.
Our finance and construction sectors have seen spurts of recovery, but where will they be in 10, 20, or even 30 years Perhaps, surprisingly, some experts believe a humanities education will benefit school leavers and those wanting a change of career more than any other university degree.
Critical thinking and contextual awareness are set to become more important as jobs in the professions, as well as manufacturing, lose out to automation, according to futurist Re Dubhthaigh. "In an Irish context, we have not been very good at looking on medium-term timeframes of 20 years or so," said the independent strategist working across education, policy and tech. We already know that the idea of a job for life is becoming old hat. In the future, the notion a neat career with a clearly defined start, middle and end will soon go the same way.