Leading tech job board CWJobs has published a report into future work opportunities. Created in collaboration with expert futurologist Melissa Sterry, the company’s report surveyed over 2,000 UK business decision makers and IT workers to determine the technological inventions with the greatest impact on society since 2000 and what’s to come in the next 20 years.
Just over a third (34 per cent) of business decision makers stated they expect self-driving cars to be the innovation that will change our future the most in the next 20 years, with delivery drones (30 per cent) and 5G (24 per cent) also ranking highly. However, surveying its candidate database, CWJobs found IT workers disagree – with over 46 per cent believing quantum computing will impact society the most, ahead of self-driving cars (41 per cent) and instant language translator earbuds (33 per cent).
“The world of tech stops for nobody and it’s set to accelerate even further over the next 20 years, impacting every part of our lives from consumers to businesses,” said Melissa Sterry. “What’s interesting to see is the different directions business leaders and IT workers think the industry is heading in, perhaps influenced by their backgrounds and prevalence of tech in their roles. It’s clear though that both see tech as a firm staple of life moving forward, of which there should be no doubt.”
Top millennial tech
Working with tech every day, IT workers are perfectly placed to comment on the tech that’s had the biggest impact on society so far. The research revealed that over seven out of 10 workers (74 per cent) thoroughly believe that the smartphone has been the most crucial invention over the past 20 years. Additionally, the research found that workers regard Bluetooth technology as the most underappreciated invention (36 per cent), closely followed by the USB flash drive (31 per cent). The most surprising innovation since 2000 for IT workers came in the form of social media (37 per cent), AI voice assistants (34 per cent) and 3D printing (30 per cent).
New jobs to match a new workforce
As the speed of innovation continues at pace, with it comes new and exciting job roles. Looking ahead to the next 20 years from a tech talent perspective, 42 per cent of business decision makers believe that the “self-driving car mechanic” will be the new tech job role to emerge. Of the current roles available, cyber security engineers / analysts (35 per cent) and AI / Machine learning designers, developers or engineers (35 per cent) are expected to be the most important tech roles in the next two decades, ahead of software developers / engineers (26 per cent) and mobile app developers (25 per cent).
Interestingly, both business decision makers and IT workers, 68 per cent and 71 per cent respectively, believe that as significant advancements have occurred in areas like AI, blockchain and quantum computing, more people are developing the specialist tech skills needed to match the increased demand for these specific innovations.
Sterry continues: “What’s clear from these findings is that the underlying technology we’re seeing emerging today, like AI and connectivity, is set to be the basis for the next 20 years of innovation. In order to take advantage, the UK needs to have the talent available to implement and use these technologies effectively. Fortunately, the UK workforce is adapting well with an influx of more diverse and qualified employees bringing in the skills needed to help the UK keep up. From a business perspective, tech firms increasingly recognise the need to help existing talent develop greater flexibility and scope for creativity, while also harnessing the capacity of specialised job boards and platforms to identify the right expertise in an array of fast-emerging fields.”
Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs comments: “Technology is now fully immersed in all aspects of our lives, both personally and professionally. With businesses facing growing pressure to integrate the latest consumer technologies into their companies, it’s vital they keep on top of the newest developments. More importantly though, it’s about ensuring their staff have the skills to develop and take advantage of the next generation of tech that’s set to impact our lives.”