100 jobs of the future listed by Skolkovo

According to the Skolkovo School of Management, mail carriers will not be needed in 10 years. Source: ITAR-TASS

According to the Skolkovo School of Management, mail carriers will not be needed in 10 years. Source: ITAR-TASS

Elevator operator, mail carrier and seamstress are professions that will most likely die out over the next few years, replaced by new ones. The Skolkovo School of Management predicts which jobs will become essential in a few years’ time - and which will disappear.

The Skolkovo School of Management (MSM) in Moscow has prepared an atlas that lists 100 new and innovative job titles – and 30 disappearing ones.

MSM plans to actively disseminate its new atlas at the beginning of the academic year in universities and high schools, to show students the changes that are coming to the labor market. The authors are urging young people to stop coming in crowds to the economic and law faculties.

Many of the jobs that are popular today will not be needed in 10 years, with the structure of the labor market changing dramatically.

According to Pavel Luksha, professor at Skolkovo MSM and one of the authors of the atlas, one of the most important issues in labor market development is the harmonization of the educational system with the labor market.

“Employers seek new specialists based on their current needs. First, they find that some expert is missing in their organization, and then start looking for him/her. The awareness cycle takes time. Our goal is to predict the needs for specialists that do not exist yet, anticipating new activities and thus providing guidance for their preparation at the leading universities,” says Mr. Luksha.

For example, the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry will occupy a different position in the market in 5–7 years; therefore, specialists that do not exist now will be in demand then.

“These are not some abstract fantasies of the academics,” adds Mr. Luksha. This forecast is based on the investment plans and strategies of the largest Russian companies. Most of the findings, according to Mr. Luksha, were drawn up in cooperation with leading industry experts.

This atlas details the key changes and new technologies that will lead to the emergence of new professions up to 2020 and beyond in 19 major industries and technology areas (from medicine and biotechnology to the construction industry and the children's goods sector). Around 2,000 researchers took part in the study.

Experts say that the demand for those professions postponed until “after 2020” in the list will depend on the successful technological development of the country and the world in general - including whether there will be no world wars, global cataclysms or intentional slowdown of technological development.

These jobs require standards that differ from the ones we have today; they will be created from scratch and take into account the development of educational technologies. Legal formation and inclusion of such professions into the jobs’ register will support and develop industry, healthcare and science - in any scenario of the country’s and global development.

“The idea of ​​forecasting the demand for rather narrowly defined occupational groups periodically arises among experts and decision-makers,” skeptically comments Irina Denisova, professor at the Center for Economic and Financial Research at the New Economic School.

“This requires investments into the collection of additional statistics and the creation of predictive models. Now, we do not even have a basis for a good forecast of the country’s industrial development.”

A separate chapter of the atlas is devoted to 30 disappearing professions. The authors claim that some of them will leave the market to be replaced by automated and robotic systems. Another part will die out along with their respective industrial sectors.

Scientists in Skolkovo sentenced to a quick death the pulp and paper industry, the publishing business, archival and library science, and the postal service. Experts predict that, even before 2020, professions such as the travel agent, the copywriter, the lecturer, the archivist, the seamstress, the elevator operator, the machinist and the mail carrier will disappear from the labor market.

After 2020 the number of unnecessary professions will be incremented by janitors, work superintendents, miners, journalists, logisticians, notaries, pharmacists, legal advisers, and even traffic police inspectors.

One of the main causes for the disappearance of professions is the automation and mechanization of processes, but this will not reduce employment rates, as Mr. Luksha explains. People are switching to other occupations that require more specialized and refined work, and which previously did not exist.

Multi-discipline knowledge and skills are some of the competitive advantages that will characterise the worker of the future, according to the researchers. Innovative sectors require an “ecosystem approach” – the formation of groups and teams of specialists with related competences, which enable them to design and adapt new products, to conduct the related marketing campaigns and organize production projects.

A proactive approach to the demands for specific new competences within a team is required for the development of new industries, but (with rare exceptions) the various industrial sectors are not ready to adopt this approach yet.

In any case, Denisova considers such a study very useful. These are medium-term targets for everyone – the employers, the educational system, the parents and the students. However, we must understand that the atlas mostly describes the technological frontier - or rather our expectations about the technological frontier in 5–10 years.

First published in Russian in Vedomosti.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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