Take your pick from jobs of the future

PHOTO: Take your pick from jobs of the future

Just two decades ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that a generation of fresh graduates would one day contemplate careers such as "blogger" or "social media consultant".

Yet both are legitimate jobs today and attracting ever-increasing followings. Some 40 per cent of bloggers blog for professional reasons, and half of those do so for a living, according to a 2011 study by search engine company Technorati.

While conventional jobs such as doctors and lawyers will always exist, our fast-paced world keeps throwing up new industries and career options as well.

Combining an analysis of cutting-edge trends with a dollop of imagination, New York-based advertising and branding consultancy Sparks & Honey has compiled a list of 20 "jobs of the future": careers that it predicts will emerge or become popular over the next decade.

"In the past, careers were stable, linear and singular. People chose one path and pursued it over the course of their lives from college to retirement," said the firm in a report last month.

"In our modern age of technology-driven exponential change, this model no longer works," it added. "Careers are now complex, fragmented, specialised, collaborative and ever evolving. More often than not, our work life will be made up of a portfolio of micro-careers."

One of the "micro-careers" might well be "productivity counsellor", who will help a person examine his life and find ways to improve his productivity, through a combination of ergonomics, wellness, time management and career counselling, Sparks & Honey said.

It has also dreamt up a variety of tech-related jobs, such as "personal digital curator": a specialist who recommends and maintains a suite of hardware, software, apps and information sources tailored to a client's unique personality.

Even staid industries like finance might be shaken up. Instead of becoming traders in an investment bank, business graduates could try their hand at being an "alternative currency speculator", exploring arbitrage or investment opportunities in newly created currencies such as Bitcoin.

Or they could forsake that venture capitalist career in favour of being a "crowdfunding specialist", helping firms raise funds from the public through websites such as Kickstarter or Indigogo, as suggested by Sparks & Honey.

Some of these new jobs appear to be existing jobs repackaged to make them more future-ready.

This includes "corporate disorganiser", which Sparks & Honey calls an "expert that shuffles hierarchies in companies to create a start-up culture or organised chaos", but which sounds much like a management consultant.

There's also "digital detox therapist", supposedly a counsellor separating "technology-stressed individuals" from their electronic devices. I call that "Mum".

Of course, not all these jobs are likely to put you on a path to earning a fortune. That's where another list comes in: British newspaper The Telegraph's selection of well-paid jobs in the future.

Part logical deduction and part science fiction, the line-up includes such practical proposals as "elderly well-being consultant", who gives advice on how to age healthily, and "vertical farmer", which involves farming crops upwards rather than across flat fields to save space.

But it also has a few potentially chilling suggestions: such as "child designer", someone who "designs offspring that fit parental requirements"; and "climate controller", who will manage and modify weather patterns.

How many of these imagined jobs will come to pass is anybody's guess.

I have a suggested new profession of my own, though, that I think would be a fairly safe bet: "alternative talent recruiter", which is someone who dreams up new jobs and finds suitable people to fill the role.


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