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Predicting future jobs

Ross O. Storey | Aug. 25, 2008
So, what jobs are likely to be in strong demand, based on whats happening today?

Being the father of a beautiful 16-year-old girl, I often wonder what will be the future career options for my Gabriella. This leads me to ponder claims by futurists that the youthful generation Y people among us (aged between 17 and 20) can expect to pass through five different careers during their lifetime. So much for the 1950s faith that you should get a job with the public service, or a big company, behave yourself, work hard, and collect your gold watch after 40 years service. Forget it.

Five different jobs in their lifetime and the crystal ball gazers go further. They claim that many of these jobs will not even have been conceived yet. So, what jobs are likely to be in strong demand, based on whats happening today? Heres my view.

Firstly, audiology and hearing aid services. Just about every third person you seen on public transport these days (no, I dont own a car) has small earphones stuffed in their heads, attached to small audio devises like MP3s, or mobile phones, or iPods. The natural noise on your average Singapore MRT train means these need to be turned up very loud to be heard. What damage is being done to peoples hearing by this constant assault on their audio senses can only be imagined. Im betting that when our youngsters get older, many of them will have significant hearing problems. I believe there will be a high demand for audio doctors or hearing aid services. Lets not even talk about loud mobile phones that have become almost a fixture on the sides of peoples heads. Dont you hate those bluetooth headsets where people strut around looking like cyborgs? All this amplified noise going straight into peoples sensitive ears equals inevitable long-term hearing damage.

Next, chiropracting and massage. The way most people today slump before their computer screens, laptops and televisions has got to mean spine and back problems down the track. I saw one young girl on the train with her neck and back bent over a hand-held games device, for the whole of the journey, in a posture that could only mean back pain was coming. Who is teaching our young people posture and poise for their long-term health?

What about ophthalmology? If people stare at video screens for as long as I do every day, eye and sight problems are almost a given. I didnt require glasses until I hit 50, but Im betting therell be a boom in prescription glasses or contact lenses, as peoples eyeballs rebel against glowing video screens, flashing game consoles and flickering computer animations.

But what do I know. I mean, I would never have guessed, when I was a pimply kid, that selling bottled water would become a huge business, even though you can get fresh water from the household tap. And, if youd told me then, that companies would make a fortune selling noises for people to install on their personal, hand-held communicating devices, I would have marveled at your imagination.  


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