Past IssuesApril 07, 2008
Hot Jobs Of The Future
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Hot Jobs Of The Future
Abridged: Hannah Clark, Forbes Magazine
It's 2026. You lost your cashier job five years ago, when Wal-Mart Stores switched to automatic checkout. A job at the post office lasted only a few years, since no one sends mail anymore. What's next?
In two decades, your job probably won't exist in the same form it does now. "I think there's going to be an enormous shift of occupations," says futurist Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock and Revolutionary Wealth. "Most jobs are going to change. They'll survive, but they'll change."
It's hard to think of an industry that's not undergoing upheaval. Newspaper publishers to movie makers and media firms are adjusting to the digital age. The Big Three auto companies--General Motors, Ford Motor and Daimler Chrysler--must transform themselves to compete in the global marketplace. Pharmaceutical giants that focus on blockbuster drugs are languishing, while biotech upstarts with tightly targeted medicines are on the rise.
Meanwhile, computers continue to take over the world. Machines will learn to perform most translation services, eventually making language experts unnecessary, Toffler says. Robotic aircraft will put fighter pilots out of business.
Here is the good news ...
Technology will create new jobs as well. Out-of-work "top gun" pilots may find jobs captaining dirigibles, says Joel Barker, author of Five Regions of the Future. A relic from the 1920s and 1930s, these rigid blimps will revolutionize travel in the developing world, he adds.
Hollywood's woes may be solved by holography. Since consumers are perfectly happy watching DVDs at home on big flat-screen televisions, box-office receipts have slipped and movie moguls are scrambling. But eventually, Barker says, film companies will start producing three-dimensional holographic movies that require equipment too expensive and complicated to set up at home.
It's too early to declare the end of oil, but alternative energy will create dozens of new careers in the next two decades. Hydrogen fuel could be cost-competitive with gasoline if refueling stations were mass-produced, according to a study conducted by Ford. The hydrogen at these stations would be produced on-site, so managers would need an entirely different set of skills than those required in today's gas stations, which are mainly retail operations.