Over the last ten years, I have had many jobs. I’ve worked at McDonald’s, an amusement park, a daycare, a law office, countless restaurants, a real estate office, and a rehab practice. Some jobs were in high school, some were in college, and some were in "the real world" but, in all honesty, I have appreciated and learned from each one.
In the current job market, pay is sluggish, full-time work isn’t readily available, and many Americans are either looking for a job or fear daily of losing theirs. Because of the economy and the ever-evolving job market, over the next ten years I may have many more, vastly different jobs as social and technological forces change the way we live, travel, work, entertain, eat, drink, sleep, and save, spend, and invest money.
To further examine these forces (and spurred by the 2016 presidential election and how each candidate will handle these forces respectively), Frost & Sullivan, an analyst firm, released a report with key findings about the future of the United States, exploring everything from infrastructure and urbanization to energy and mobility. Forbes, too, launched the eBook The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace to explore the present and future of business strategy. For example, did you know…
The United States is the only developed nation that does not guarantee paid maternity leave to its workers
Manufacturing will be the largest industry in 2025 (with more than $6 trillion in output)
For every female executive in an S&P; 1500 firm, you will find four men named John, Robert, William, or James
The number of connected devices in the world will reach 50 billion by 2020
The Congressional Budget Office’s baseline projections expect tax revenue of $5.03 trillion in 2025, up from 2015’s $3.18 trillion
By 2025, the World Health Organization predicts that 63% of the global population will live to be over the age of 65
Totally freaked out? Me, too. Let’s look at some of the big changes.
In 10 years, I will be 38. I’ll still be considered a millennial (just as baby boomers are still referred to as baby boomers) as I age because I was born between 1982 and 2004, but I will almost be "over the hill" (do people still say that?) in 2025. Millennials will make up 75% of the American workforce by 2025, further diversifying the job market by age in addition to race and gender. And as a woman, I’ve definitely had many defining (and some not-so-defining) moments chasing after a man singing, "Anything you can do, I can do better" as he talks sports, science, and politics, but the truth is, I can. (Well, maybe not me, but other women I know who are excellent at and well-versed in things like sports, science, and politics, and the proof is in the pudding.) According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, a global management consulting firm, if women’s involvement in the workplace improved and they received equal pay, the global economy could grow as much as $12 trillion by 2025. (It’s like that song, "Mo’ Women, Mo’ Money" or something like that.)
But what does women in the workplace mean for the workplace?
First, it means less poverty. According to an analysis of federal data by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), if women were paid the same as men, the poverty rate would be cut in half and the U.S. economy would have produced income of $447.6 billion more (#mowomenmomoney).
Second, more women in the workplace can improve a company’s bottom line. A more diverse set of employees gives organizations a more diverse set of skills and helps make businesses more productive, according to a study published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy. By studying more than 60 offices in the U.S. and abroad – including all-male, all-female, and mixed-gender offices – the researchers discovered that mixed-gender offices could increase revenue by roughly 41 percent and that male and female employees reported higher levels of job satisfaction and thought their offices were more cooperative when they were mixed-gendered.
A diverse workplace also means diverse viewpoints, insights, and problem solving skills to more efficiently and effectively present a project or brainstorm a new concept. (After all, two heads are better than one, but two heads from different genders, brains, upbringings, viewpoints, and ages are better than two same-sex heads, because, well, science.)
What’s more, gender diversity is connected to company earnings: a 2015 McKinsey report shows that gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform (while, fun fact, ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform) companies that are not diverse.
Finally, women’s greater control over household resources and purchasing decisions (resulting from their increased participation in the American workforce) can enhance the living standard for future generations globally. The World Bank, an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programs, released a report that stated: "Greater control over household resources by women can enhance countries’ growth prospects by changing spending patterns in ways that benefit children. And improvements in women’s education and health have been linked to better outcomes for their children in countries as varied as Brazil, Nepal, Pakistan, and Senegal."
The Internet of Things
I access my email from my phone, work computer, and home laptop. My Instagram site links to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress so every dancing puppy video or article about insurance I post gets blasted to all of my friends, coworkers, hairstylists and cyberspace strangers. I can make appointments online and order pizza with an emoji.
I eat, sleep, and breathe social media, and I’m not trying to brag; I hate being on my phone so much, but it’s the reality in 2015 and I need to be on social media to stay connected, informed, and, most importantly, EMPLOYED. But beyond my own cell phone and computer, the Internet of Things – when inanimate objects like appliances and everyday devices are embedded with software and sensors so they can collect and exchange data and "talk" to us and each other – is changing the future of the workplace, entertainment, travel, retirement, and beyond.
In an article by the Pew Research and American Life Project, Paul Saffo, managing director of Discern Analytics, writes, "Most of our devices will be communicating on our behalf—they will be interacting with the physical and virtual worlds more than interacting with us. The devices are going to disappear into what we wear and/or carry. For example, the glasses interface will shrink to near-invisibility in conventional glasses. The devices will also become robustly inter-networked (remember the first conversations about body networks of a decade ago?). The biggest shift is a strong move away from a single do-everything device to multiple devices with overlapping functions and, above all, an inter-relationship with our other devices."
Devices and appliances talkin’ and jivin’ is the future, baby: I’m talkin’ remote control apps that allow you to monitor everything from preheating the oven to sending medical updates and samples to your doctor; smart homes that manage your electricity, safety, and energy consumption; and driverless cars to pick up your groceries and deliver your pizza. A lot of these things are already happening (like Uber and telemedicine), but many more are expected to be created, improved, and implemented by 2025.
Top jobs in 2025
When it comes to the future and "ch-ch-ch-ch-changes," we (me, you, and David Bowie) must "turn and face the strange" because it is inevitable. But what makes change easier to turn and face is being ready for it. With robots, drones, and other machines being created and perfected daily, more jobs will start to be done remotely. Jobs that primarily involve information arbitrage will start to become obsolete as computer searches and apps increase in use and accessibility. Based on the findings by CareerCast, a career site that helps job seekers create resumes and find work, and statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the ten most endangered careers:
Mail carrier: Honestly, the only thing I get in the mail anymore are bills from companies telling me it’s time to go paperless and stop being terrible to the environment. (I also get wedding invitations, but I’m sure soon enough I will only be receiving e-vites with heart emoticons and white doves flying across my computer screen.)
Farmer: One word - technology. When it comes to farming, less is more, and technology allows farmers to do more with less resources.
Meter reader: Remote-viewable meters allow meters to be read off-site.
Newspaper reporter: Because every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a blog.
Travel agent: Um, ever heard of Orbitz or KAYAK?
Lumberjack: Technological advances and less use of paper are why this industry is endangered.
Flight attendant: Cutbacks on the number of flights and airline mergers is why this industry is on auto-pilot.
Drill-press operator: Technology advances and gridlocked manufacturing hiring are to blame for this decline.
Printing worker: In case you missed it, everything is going digital.
Tax examiner and collector: Let’s be honest, is anyone going to lose sleep over this loss?
Like anything else, when a door closes, you need to open a window. Is your job on this list? Don’t despair. Many jobs have become obsolete since the beginning of the time, but many more have simply changed. In 2000, my family and I (like the rest of America) feared Y2K and the world ending and what the "Internet age" meant for us and the future (if there was one). Now I smile thinking of that naivety and how much technology has made things better, easier, and more efficient as the years have passed. If your job is on that list, first consider changing your role in your career before deciding to find a whole new career. For example, on-demand workers are huge now and in the future. If you have the skills (and discipline) to work as a freelancer or temp, consider it. What’s more, people who teach freelancers and other on-demand workers how to self-promote and self-market will also be in high demand. If you’re a professor, consider teaching remotely as online courses continue to grow. Do you work with senior citizens? In countries with socialized health care, the government tends to provide personal care for their seniors and will need more caretakers as life expectancy lengthens. Telemedicine and a need for remote healthcare workers are also on the rise due to technology.
The future is always scary because it’s vastly unknown. We can make predictions - like hovercrafts (are those EVER going to be a thing?) and smart cities – but a lot of it is always going to be day-to-day. The important thing to remember about the future - specifically jobs in the future – is that although it’s inevitable, if you focus on the BIG picture and harness what you already know as you adapt to new changes, you will find that most things will just fall into place. Your job skills and work ethic and passion will translate, I promise you. We need to rage with the machine, not against it (and KNOW how to take down zombies and robots).
Image: Betta Living