Most people have heard the statistic that 65% of jobs that today’s students will hold haven’t even been created yet. Those numbers have been around for years, but the predictions are already beginning to come true. With technology’s rapid growth, new jobs and industries are being created all the time. Understanding the industries of the future can help us prepare for what is coming our way and gives us more time to acquire the skills we need to succeed in the future. According to Alec Ross, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at John Hopkins University, the last 20 years were about digitization and the rise of the Internet, and industries of the future go beyond that. Here are his predictions for five industries of the future:
There has been a lot of talk and concern about robots and the impact they will have on jobs, but Alec says that we will create more jobs than technology will replace. Throughout history, jobs that used to exist have been replaced by better jobs as technology evolved, which means we don’t have a reason to fear today. Instead, we can focus on the huge developments robotics will allow in streamlining processes, increasing efficiency, and improving automation. We also have resources today like the internet to help us give ourselves better skills to prepare. Robotics will transform existing industries and create its own powerful industry where it will change how we live and work.
Advanced Life Sciences
Instead of industries created by computer code, the next trillion-dollar industry will be created by genetic code. Advanced life sciences, or genomics, has the potential to revolutionize how we think about healthcare and improve the quality of life for people around the world by combining technology and genetics. Procedures that used used to be incredibly expensive and exclusive, like sequencing cancerous cells, are now widely available and much more affordable. Liquid biopsies are now available that can detect cancerous cells with incredible accuracy with a simple blood test. That means that instead of detecting cancer when it has grown to stage 3 or 4, we can now discover it early in stage 1, which could potentially drop fatality rates to less than 2%. Though the current cost is around $2,000, the price is expected to drop to just a few hundred dollars in the next few years and could add two to three years of life expectancy to the average American.
Codification of Markets
The next step for money markets is to move towards code, led by technology like bitcoin. Although digitized money and transactions has evolved over the years, we still don’t perform large exchanges like buying and selling houses digitally, but that soon could change. Blockchain technology is a public-facing ledger system where every transaction is authenticated and made available to the public, taking out a lot of the guesswork of performing transactions with strangers online. It adds trust, makes transactions more secure, and helps lower friction. Blockchain technology could revolutionize the economy by bringing codified trust to new industries and taking out some of the middlemen. Blockchain is the building blocks of a new wave of digital transactions, and experts predict it will become more mainstream in the next five years.
As devices become more prevalent and connected, online security issues have grown more dominant, and that is sure to continue in the coming years. Security used to be an afterthought when creating new systems and products, but now it has to be in the forefront and be thought of as the first principle in product design. As new types of attacks emerge, such as integrity attacks that are showing up with increasing frequency, companies and individuals need to be aware of the risks they face and have plans in place to prevent and fight attacks. Alec says that corporations will need to prioritize their biggest intellectual property secrets and private data to make sure it is inaccessible. Just like current boards of Fortune 500 companies nearly always have someone who is a digital and internet expert, boards of the future will likely require at least one member to have extensive cybersecurity experience so the company can stay as safe as possible.
Just like iron was the raw material of the industrial age, data is the raw material of the digital age. Whoever controls the data is the person or group who has the power. There is an immense amount of data being generated every minute around the world. By 2020, experts predict there will be more than 40 billion connected devices around the world, and that number will continue to grow exponentially. Big data analytics is a powerful tool in drawing out business intelligence and doing things smarter and more strategically, both internally and externally. Analytics is essential to understanding the huge amounts of data and seeing how everything fits together. Companies that can harness analytics for their customers and employees will see huge success over those that don’t.
So how do we prepare for these game-changing industries that will transform how we live and work? According to Alec, one of the keys is being able to adapt, both in our personal and professional lives. In order to fully accept the new industries, we must be continually learning and increasing our skillset in ways that take advantage of new technologies. That also includes re-vamping vocational training to give people the skills they need to be competitive in a new job market. In order to be successful in these new industries, we really must be advocates for ourselves and put the time and effort in to learn and apply the changes.
The future of work is definitely changing, and new industries will create new jobs and play a large role in that. To fully take advantage, we need to prepare now for the industries of the future. Learn more about the Industries of the Future here.
My new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley, 2017) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Subscribe to the newsletter here or become a member of the new Facebook Community The Future If… and join the discussion.