Children entering kindergarten today will be graduating from high school in 2030. It’s supposed to be a time when they’re just beginning their adult lives and building their futures. Will they transition straight on into college, take a gap year first, or go directly out into the job market? For most young adults coming of age in 2030, there may be fewer choices.


As things stand now, college is out of reach for many young adults, and the financial situation at home may make the decision of whether to work or continue their education a non-starter. The other reality is that even entry-level positions require at least a bachelors degree to get in the door.

What kind of jobs will there be for a young adult with only a high school education in 2030? What kind of jobs will there be for those who are educated or looking to switch careers? Will we all be competing with robots whose education and future are pre-ordained for the few jobs that are left?

“What will the workplace of  the 2030’s look like?”


The forecast for the future of work as we move further into the 21 century is more uncertain than ever. Automation is already threatening the extinction of most service and manufacturing jobs, yet we still have politicians telling how they’re bringing those back.

Instead of encouraging us to embrace change, they’re trying to drag us backward to the 1950s. Even the education system seems determined to mass produce us into irrelevance.


When you look to literature and film, there are usually two predictions for humanity in the robotic age. You either have the dark, bleak dystopian world of Orwell, Huxley, and Bradbury or an idyllic existence where the lion lays down with the lamb and we all live lives of leisure aided by technology and run on artificial intelligence for our amusement and convenience.

Which future belongs to us is a matter of what we do now to prepare for it. As it stands, the needle seems to be leaning more toward Orwell than All’s Well.

In the slightly less fictional world of academic research and predictions, the reality of future jobs depends on who you ask. Experts agree on the global conditions that will shape our lives in the coming decades. They differ on how much of an impact things like technology will have on our ability to earn a living.

Take a look at the video below to get an overview for what is heading our way.

“AI, Automation and The Great Jobs Extinction of 2030

Most predictions about the future of work reference a 2017 study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute. Their findings have stoked some fear regarding the future of jobs and industry.


The study encompassed 48 countries and 800 current occupations, analyzing and incorporating current trends and extrapolating their influence over the next 12 years.

Given this analysis, they determined that one-fifth of the total global workforce will be adversely impacted by technology by 2030.

– Countries with less to invest in technology will also be least affected by this shift. 

– Industrialized, production-based societies will be the hardest hit. For example. Germany and the United States will experience overall job losses of 30 percent; losses in the U.K. are expected to be about 20 percent of all jobs. 

– White collar occupations in finance and law that rely on repetitive information and analysis are in just as much danger as manufacturing and service jobs.

– Specialized occupations that aren’t reliant on static processes are less likely to be affected. These include care occupations, landscapers, and creative fields.

– Low-skilled, low-education careers will largely cease to exist.

– Higher education will be more critical than ever before

– Soft skills and intangibles will become more essential for career marketability than ever.

“All types of jobs could be at risk”


More recently, a different study was conducted by Pearson in conjunction with Nesta and Michael Osborne of the Oxford Martin School.

Their conclusions paint a slightly less depressing picture. Automation will still be a driving force in future work and social environments, but the impact will be less catastrophic than the conclusions drawn by the research team at McKinsey.

Ironically, their findings were collected, analyzed, and formulated using machine learning technology.

NO VALUE Preparing today's children for tomorrow.


The Pearson partnership identified six areas that they felt would most influence the future.

Many of these overlap with the transformative trends outlined by The Institute for the Future (IFTF) in their study for the University of Phoenix.

Some of their findings contradict McKinsey. For example, their analysis concluded that overall tech-related job loss will be closer to 9 percent than 47.

According to the study, there are six factors that will drive us.

Technological change: Many are driven by fears of being displaced by automated systems. The impact of machine learning and AI is expected to have an overall impact of between 9 and 47 percent on global job markets.

The true impact will be felt as technology bolsters performance, streamlining some occupations and creating new opportunities for employment.

Globalization: Much as some fear globalization and think our saving grace is isolationism, world labor markets will continue to integrate.

Erasing borders in the virtual and corporate worlds will create more social and economic parity rather than supporting the concentration of wealth and power at the top.

This may be what really scares those who espouse Nationalism.

Demographic changes: Fears of the impact of an aging populations will cause political leaders to continue attempting to clamp down on safety nets like social security and Medicare.

On the other end of the spectrum, millennials will increase their influence on society, attitudes toward what work means, and an emphasis on quality of life rather than consumerism.

The rise of both demographics will impact everything from housing to education and healthcare.

Environmental sustainability: The effects of climate change and its threat to security and global stability are becoming too big to be ignored.

However, there will continue to be a power struggle between those who realize the potential for innovation in green technology and environmental sustainability and those who will try to stifle it.

This is a good area to explore and develop entrepreneurship opportunities in R&D and business development.

Urbanization: By 2050, more than half of the world’s population will live in cities, This will be driven by factors like war, famine, and migration that are exacerbated by global warming and lack of opportunity.

While it will stress already overburdened social systems, it will also have the potential to create new employment and investment opportunities in an effort to alleviate those issues.

Increasing inequality: If current trends continue, we will become a two-class society, with most of the wealth and power concentrated at the top and a massive underclass forced to into mere subsistence by lack of education and opportunity.

Social and health care programs may merge into a form of universal income by necessity just to sustain the mass of unemployed.

Political uncertainty: This may be the single biggest factor in how it all plays out. Currently, we’re experiencing a politics of fear as those in power sense a mass shift in popular consciousness.

Continued economic uncertainty influences the ability of policymakers and established institutions to make rational and stable decisions regarding education, social issues, and industries.

This uncertainty and politics of fear trickles down, creating further social unease and economic instability. In the finest example of a vicious circle, these factors influence political decisions regarding security, law, health care, education, and defense.

The Pearson Group feels that the McKinsey study overstated the impact of automation of future jobs. Others feel that Pearson’s algorithm and conclusions were much too optimistic, despite some of their dire predictions.

The reality of how it will all play out probably lies somewhere between the two.

“By 2030, one-fifth of the global workforce will be affected”


The year 2030 seems such a long way off. But, when you break it down into less abstract terms, that’s just around the corner. Thinking of all of the inventions and events that have happened over the previous decade to give us the existence we live today brings things even further into perspective.

We adjust quickly to our news norms, and soon forget the lessons of the past. Right now, it’s difficult to imagine mass unemployment when the jobs situation in most developed countries gives the appearance of prosperity.

Lowest numbers in decades and a chicken in every pot. There is even so much work, we’re outsourcing it and boosting the economies in third-world countries.

That’s what the pundits and politicians will tell us, anyway. Their jobs depend on it, and theirs are only slightly more secure than ours.

For good or ill, the future of work depends more on mental agility than manual dexterity. The McKinsey study compares this shift to the societal tsunami ushered in by the industrial revolution of the early 20th century.

“Maybe masters degrees don’t matter so much when those who have them are underemployed as it is. Yet, experts and academics scream that the answer is education. Just get a STEM degree, and the future is yours. “

There will still be artisans, professionals, and people who work with their hands. But, these will be more specialty niches than in-demand occupations.

If plumbers and lawyers still exist, they’ll be aided by artificial intelligence rather than a staff of worker bees to ply their trades.

Down in the trenches with the average man or woman in the street, there’s a different reality. Maybe unemployment is at 3 percent because everyone is working two jobs just to get by.

Maybe masters degrees don’t matter so much when those who have them are underemployed as it is. Yet, experts and academics scream that the answer is education. Just get a STEM degree, and the future is yours.

The future is not so much about formal education as it is about developing soft skills and accumulating information. That will be the new currency, and the value will continue to increase as traditional work landscapes shift and survival of the fittest takes on new meanings.

For good or ill, the future of work depends more on mental agility than manual dexterity. The McKinsey study compares this shift to the societal tsunami ushered in by the industrial revolution of the early 20th century.

There will still be artisans, professionals, and people who work with their hands. But, these will be more specialty niches than in-demand occupations. If plumbers and lawyers still exist, they’ll be aided by artificial intelligence rather than a staff of worker bees to ply their trades.


While researchers disagree on the direction and extent of worker displacement in the future, they agree on the need to develop specific skill sets to help us succeed.

These skills are rooted in our humanity. Skills that define physical or manual labor will decrease in relevance, and those that rely on cognitive development and social skills will rise.

The focus in education and job training should move toward three key areas: cognitive abilities, social and emotional acumen, and technological mastery. The most employable among us will become proficient in all three areas.

Cognitive development: This is a skill set used by the thinkers of the world, researchers, writers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and project managers. It relies on developing advanced literacy and written communications skills, creativity, critical and design thinking, information processing, and statistical analysis. 

Social and emotional dexterity: Our ability to empathize, negotiate, and communicate effectively on an interpersonal level are the hallmarks of this set of skills. Occupations that will characterize this are business developers, care-givers, counselors, artists, entertainers, and emergency response managers.

Technological proficiency: This area covers the whole STEM curriculum to incorporate programmers and IT specialists, engineers, robotics experts, and software developers. You’ll need to focus on gaining and applying broad-ranging technological knowledge across all mediums.

Big as the cultural changes are expected to be over the next 12 years, they won’t happen overnight. This is a good thing. It allows us to gradually sharpen our skills and assimilate new developments as they occur.

Technology has proven potential to enhance our lives and change them for the better rather than make us unemployable minions of our robot overlords. However, we have to look forward rather than clinging to an obsolete past in order for that to happen.


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