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The Future of Jobs?: Most Employable Skills and Majors

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Savi Chakraborty
14 Dec 2018
19 min read

Over the last 5 years, new technologies, business models and industries have evolved, and that has begun affecting traditional roles, skills and employment opportunities. By one popular estimate, up to 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in job types that don’t exist today. The future of jobs will look very different from what it looks today. We’ll see a different set of opportunities, requiring different skills. 

Self driving cars, intelligent chatbots and interconnected physical devices are just a few examples of automation. They could eliminate a lot of redundancy in jobs.  However, the fear of robots replacing humans is unfounded. Automation is going to create as many jobs as it is going to kill. The future of jobs belongs to those who are on track to upgrade themselves on usage of new technologies.

In this study, we'll delve into the college majors that'll be most employable in the near future, provide a list of most sought after skills and provide college students with tips to get job ready. Additionally, we'll go over the current job market, the diminishing skills and disruptions in various industries. 

The Shift And Trends In Job Market

Jobs of the future

Let’s look at the key trends that will drive jobs of the future and the number of additional jobs each of these trends might create.

Rising Incomes and Consumption

A McKinsey research suggests that 1 billion additional people will enter the consuming class by 2025, leading to an increase in global consumption by $23 trillion. As incomes rise, consumers will spend more, creating jobs in areas such as consumer durables, leisure activities, financial and telecommunication services, housing, health care, and education. Globally, more than 300 million new jobs could be created from the impact of rising incomes.

Aging Population

Between 2015 and 2030, the number of people aged 65 and above will rise by 300 million. As people age, their spending will shift towards health care and personal services. This will create significant demand for occupations like doctors, nurses, health technicians, personal care aides and nursing assistants. Globally, health care and related jobs could grow by 80 to 130 million by 2030.


 The future of jobs will be predominantly technology based. Technological skills will permeate all industries with a focus on artificial intelligence and automation. Overall technology spends between 2015, and 2030 will increase by more than 50%. This will create a demand for computer scientists, data analysts, engineers, and IT administrators, 20 to 50 million jobs globally.

Investment in Infrastructure

The world needs to invest $3.3 trillion per year to fill infrastructure gaps, compared to the current $2.5 trillion annually. This includes both developing countries as well as first world economies that have underinvested in maintaining their infrastructure and buildings. This will give rise to 100-200 million jobs for architects, engineers, carpenters, construction workers, machinery operators, and other low skilled jobs.

Marketization of Domestic Work

The service industry for previously unpaid domestic work will see surge in demand - giving rise to jobs in cooking, childcare, and cleaning. With more women joining the workforce, there will be a huge demand for childcare providers along with other domestic services. This shift can marketize 50 million to 90 million unpaid jobs globally and grow into an organized sector. Tech startups are already investing in door to door services that works on consolidating labor from various sectors. 

Renewable Energy and Climate Adaptation

There is scare all over around global warming. Policy makers are increasingly interested in working with companies that can think out of the box. There is a huge demand for alternate technologies and products that can reduce the burden on fossil fuels. Investments in wind & solar energy and efficiency technologies will create new demand for workers in a range of occupations like manufacturing, construction, and installation, creating additional 10 to 20 million jobs by 2030. 

Highest Demand Skills In The Near Future

Future of jobs and skills

While some sectors will see growth in jobs, others will see a decline or even elimination of certain kind of jobs.

Future Jobs That'll be In Demand By 2022


The categories with the highest percentage job growth net of automation include: 

Care Providers: Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, Health Aids, Childcare Workers, Social Workers

Educators: School teachers, Higher Education professors, Education support worker

Managers: Executives, Strategy Planners, Team Leaders

Professionals: Engineers, Finance Specialists, Scientists, Lawyers, Accountants

Technologists: Software Engineers, Data Scientists, IT Architects, Software Testers

Creatives: Artists, Media Workers, Designers, Performers

Infrastructure Builders: Architects, Construction Workers, Surveyors, Installation Workers

Domestic Service Providers: Direct to home services


The categories with the highest percentage job decline include:

Office Support Jobs: Clerks, office assistants, payroll processors

Customer Interaction Jobs: Travel agents, cashiers, and food service workers

Repetitive, Predictable Jobs: Assembly line workers, dishwashers, equipment operators

Most Employable Majors and Skills For Future Jobs

Jobs of the future and most employable majors

The good news among these shifting trends is that the growing job categories have higher education requirements than the work seeing decline. Here’s the list of majors that’ll be the biggest job-creators in the future:

1) Biomedical Engineering:  Biomedical engineering makes you sit at the intersection of life sciences, engineering and, medicine, which converts into an exciting field of work, projected to grow at an astonishing rate in the next decade.

Average starting salary in 2018: $80,000+

2) Medical/Health Courses: Healthcare is projected to be one of the biggest benefactors of the future growth. It is going to witness the biggest surge in demand for nurses, pharmacists, support care, medical administration, but the biggest earning potential is for Doctors who sit at the top of this growing need.

Average starting salary in 2018: $140,000+

3) Computer Science & IT: This is a vast field comprising of sub-specializations like Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies. As is most evident, software programmers are affecting every industry and will continue to be the key to achieve automation.

Average starting salary in 2018: $100,000+

4) Architecture: The construction boom in the next decade, especially in developing countries, will create a large number of jobs, across each level - from architects, civil engineers to construction workers. Architects at mid-to-high level  of any construction project can earn very substantial incomes as well.

Average starting salary in 2018: $125,000+

5) Business Administration: Leadership and Management skills are not going anywhere, with or without automation. Business degrees, especially MBA, will remain highly sought after degree in the next decade, launching careers into every industry in leadership roles.

Average starting salary in 2018: $120,000+

6) Engineering & Robotics: Any engineering degree, whether mechanical, electrical, chemical, material will remain sought after as the consumption of physical products is going to grow. Most products combine engineers from vast specializations and you can’t go wrong with any specialization of your choice.

Average starting salary in 2018: $90,000+

7) Social Sciences: Social science can represent various fields like geopolitics, economics, and anthropology. A degree in one of these disciplines can land you a variety of jobs, especially in the public sector. As the world gets more complex and divided, these roles are going to grow along with growing starting salaries.

Average starting salary in 2018: $55,000+

8) Mathematics & Statistics: As we gather more and more data, we need great mathematicians to analyze that, draw patterns and find trends. Mathematicians and Statisticians find entry into a variety of industries today and their demand has grown tremendously over the last few years, a trend we’ll continue to see.

Average starting salary in 2018: $95,000+

9) Design & Communication: Even when the machines become supremely intelligent, they won’t be able to generate ideas. Creative professionals who have a flair for storytelling is a unique combination of skills which will be an integral part of every industry - from media, films to even software companies. The salaries tend to be on the lower side today, but this is growing as more and more industries need creative support.

Average starting salary in 2018: $55,000+

10) Economics: A major in Economics sets you on a high-growth path in many directions. You can choose to become an economist/investment analyst, shift towards other branches of finance, or advance to a business degree. Whichever direction they take, economists end up making quite a lot of money.

Average starting salary in 2018: $100,000+

What Skills are Needed for Future Jobs?

What Skills are Needed for Future Jobs?

Choosing the right major is one way to prepare for the future of jobs. Besides college degrees, there are skills that you need to acquire to be able to succeed in any kind of workplace or profession.

Here's a list of skills that'll take you a long way

Data analytics: As technology permeates all industries, being able to monitor and analyze large sets of data will be crucial for anyone to determine the efficacy of these tools 

Cross-geography communication: More and more companies are going global or catering to intercontinental audiences. Be able to understand and communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds needs patience and an open mindset. 

SMAC skills - Either you major in STEM or you specialize in SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud).  STEM and SMAC will be the biggest job creators in the coming decade. 

Presentation skills: Outsourcing of jobs and an increase in remote workers means that you'll have meetings over Skype, Slack and phones. It's not the same presenting a large number of slides or conducting trainings when you are not doing it in person. 

Creative skills: Creative skills were pushed down the ranks with the onset of technical professions. However, more and more companies and universities are trying to revive humanities and art studies now. The reason being tools can only be effective when they can back great ideas. 

Adaptability and Agility: Gone are the days when you could work in one role and grow vertically for your entire career. Adaptability is a crucial skill in order to avoid becoming obsolete. 

Get Skill-Ready For Future Jobs

Identify what kind of jobs you want to pursue

You may or may not be enrolled in a major that directly leads you to the most sought out jobs listed above. However, if you are interested in any of them, there are alternate ways to pursue. A lot of students coming from a Humanities background end up in technical roles owing to their interest and hard work to gain the right skills.

Identify the skills you’ll need for each job

You could be studying Marketing in college but be unaware of the fact that digital marketing will require strong data analysis. Therefore, you’d need to acquire data analysis skills over and above your degree in order to succeed in a digital marketing job

Enroll in online courses that are more structured towards jobs and less academic than your college majors

There’s a plethora of online courses that can teach you the fundamentals of any tools, skills that can help tremendously advance your career

Talk to your college alumni who are in a similar industry

People who are already in similar jobs can speak best to what you’d need to succeed, what are the pros and cons of their roles and if that’s something you’d like to pursue

Make a financial assessment

Few people are born with a dying passion that they would like to pursue irrespective of how much they would get paid. For most others, career is a combination of financial opportunities combined with their existing skill sets. Therefore, it’s important to make a deep financial assessment of each career path before you start pursuing it. For example, you may be creatively inclined towards a career in fine arts. But using that inclination to pursue a career in User interface design may be more lucrative and sustaining in the long run since the future of jobs tremendously favors tech companies.

The best learning is on the job

Degrees are expensive. They do add a whole weight of brand value to your pedigree, but the best learning happens on the job itself. Therefore, get started on a job and acquire skills on the go.

Invest in learning soft skills

Communication and people management skills are key to growth in any career. Be it in a traditional company, startup or your venture. You’ll have to be a strong or at least, above average communicator irrespective of your core technical strengths.

End of college is just the beginning of real world learning. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Once you graduate, that’s when your real learning begins. Be open to be challenged and pushed beyond your limits when you start working. Make short term and long term learning skills and pursue them with a strategic plan.


Future of Jobs Report 2018. (2018). Retrieved from

The 3 key skill sets for the workers of 2030. (2018). Retrieved from

Jobs lost, jobs gained: What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages. (2018). Retrieved from

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