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The impact of advances in technology on future jobs

Less than one-in-five think they have the skills required to future-proof their careers.

As advances in technology shifts gears, we are left asking ourselves important questions such as, will there be flying cars in the future? When will there be sleep pods or dream catchers? Will I be able to live in space? We are also left asking ourselves, what will I be doing in the future? What will my job be?

According to new research many young people believe the speed of technological advances means that they will one day have a job that does not yet exist.

A survey of young people, found that almost half (47%) of 16 to 24-year-olds believe they will work in a role that does not currently exist.

But less than one-in-five think they have the skills required to future-proof their careers.


In response to the study – which was carried out by defence technology firm BAE Systems – the company used a panel of futurists and technologists to predict the job roles likely to exist in 2040, and the subjects which could provide skills for those jobs.

It included roles such as an AI ethicist, who would be responsible for ensuring artificial intelligence was underpinned by robust ethics.

The panel argued that current subjects such as philosophy, history and maths would be useful for such a role, and young people should look at how such subjects could help them in the jobs of the future.

(BAE Systems)
An illustration of an AI ethicist, identified as a possible job of the future (BAE Systems/PA)

It also identified the areas of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and robotics as key emerging technologies which would provide some of the best careers in years to come.

Advances in technology, engineering and science, mean the workplace of today will look dramatically different in 2040. Whilst it’s impossible for today’s young people to know exactly where their career will take them in the next 20 years, a wide range of skills will be useful in future-proofing the careers of young people today.

Nick Colosimo BAE Systems’ principal technologist

Other potential roles of the future identified by the panel included an auto adviser who provides advice on where automation could be introduced inside a company, and a virtual reality architect, who would work with virtual models of buildings and large commercial vehicles to remotely analyse when and where maintenance would be needed.

With technology and innovation opening new doors of opportunity it is important for businesses to prepare, not just in terms of latest idea or development but also preparing their workforce for the future. In our recent study we were surprised to find that a third of UK businesses offer no employee training or development time, with over half highlighting lack of funding as he biggest barrier. Employees are a companies biggest assets and with the help of government incentives such as R&D tax credits and Patent Box, innovating businesses could access funding to invest in these areas.

Contact us today to find out if you are eligible.