By Dora Mekouar
Up to 85 percent of the jobs that today’s college students will have in 11 years haven’t been invented yet.
That’s according to a panel of experts assembled by the Institute for the Future, although an exact percentage is impossible to predict.
The IFTF, a nonprofit that seeks to identify emerging trends and their impacts on global society, forecasts that many of the tasks and duties of the jobs that today’s young people will hold in 2030 don’t exist right now.
“Those who plan to work for the next 50 years, they have to have a mindset of like, ‘I’m going to be working and learning and working and learning, and working and learning,’ in order to make a career,” says Rachel Maguire, a research director with IFTF.
By 2030, we’ll likely be living in a world where artificial assistants help us with almost every task, not unlike the way email tries to finish spelling a word for users today.
Maguire says it will be like having an assistant working alongside you, taking on tasks at which the human brain does not excel.
“For the human, for the people who are digitally literate who are able to take advantage, they’ll be well-positioned to elevate their position, elevate the kind of work they can do, because they’ve got essentially an orchestra of digital technologies that they’re conducting,” she says. “They’re just playing the role of a conductor, but the work’s being done, at least in partnership, with these machines.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says today’s students will have eight to 10 jobs by the time they are 38.
And they won’t necessarily have to take time away from any one of those jobs for workforce training or to gain additional certifications related to their fields. Instead, they’ll partner with machines for on-the-job learning, wearing an augmented reality headset that will give them the information they need in real-time to get the work done.
“It eliminates the need for people to step away from income generating opportunities to recertify in order to learn a new skill so they can level up and earn more money,” Maguire says. “It gives the opportunity for people to be able to learn those kinds of new skills and demonstrate proficiency in-the-moment at the job.”
And forget about traditional human resources departments or the daunting task of looking for a job on your own. In the future, the job might come to you.
Potential employers will draw from different data sources, including online business profiles and social media streams, to get a sense of a person and their skill set.
Maquire says there’s already a lot of activity around turning employment into a matchmaking endeavor, using artificial intelligence and deep learning to help the right person and the right job find each other.
In theory, this kind of online job matching could lead to less bias and discrimination in hiring practices. However, there are potential pitfalls.
“We have to be cognizant that the people who are building these tools aren’t informing these tools with their own biases, whether they’re intentional or not,” Maguire says. “These systems will only be as good as the data that feeds them.”
Which leads Maguire to another point. While she doesn’t want to sound melodramatic or evangelical about emerging technologies, she believes it is critical for the public to get engaged now, rather than sitting back and letting technology happen to them.
“What do we want from these new technological capabilities, and how do we make sure we put in place the social policies and the social systems that will result in what it is we all want?” she says. “I have a deep concern that we’re just kind of sitting back and letting technology tell us what jobs we’ll have and what jobs we won’t have, rather than us figuring out how to apply these technologies to improve the human condition.”