Crystal ball gazing: Jobs 2030

June 26, 2014

By Sheryl Smolkin


January 2014 figures reveal that although the national youth unemployment rate was 13.9%, Saskatchewan’s youth unemployment rate of 7% was the lowest in the country.

Nevertheless, young people realize that selecting a course of post-secondary study and a future career are critical decisions that will impact their job satisfaction and family lifestyle for many years to come.

Jobs like web designer, social media specialist and computer game designer did not exist 35 or 40 years ago when new grads were faced with similar decisions. And it is all but impossible to predict what novel opportunities will be available in future and how to train for these new roles.

Nevertheless, the registered educational savings plan company Canadian Scholarship Trust partnered with 40+ leading experts across Canada to collect their insights on the future of their industries and worked with foresight strategists to create hypothetical job descriptions for positions that may be available 15+ years from now.

The Inspired Minds initiative is a “digital job fair” for the year 2030 that imagines a series of jobs you have never heard of but may be available sooner than you think. Here are five of those jobs I find the most interesting, plus the kind of training you may need for these positions.

  1. Nostalgist
    The nostalgist will be an interior designer specializing in recreating memories for retired people. The wealthy elderly of 2030 will have the luxury of living in a space inspired by their favourite decade. Nostalgists will recreate the setting of their preferred time and place for seniors wishing to relive their past, from a small-town 1970s living room to a 1980s university dorm room.A degree in social science would provide a good background for this job, because knowing how people work and the conditions that enable success will be vital. Training in systems thinking and administrative procedures will also be important, so some courses in management sciences will be valuable.
  2. Tele-surgeon
    Using a combination of robotic surgery tools, scanning and sensing technologies and high-speed networks, tele-surgeons will operate on people in faraway locations.Most communities will have a small surgical team in the local medical centre, but in emergency cases drones (pilotless flying devices) will be used to airdrop a tele-surgery unit into villages or seasonal camps, as this can be faster than moving a patient by helicopter.Tele-surgeons will need traditional medical and surgical training, but expand their skills to include robotic surgical assistants. They will have be familiar with robotic technology and comfortable performing surgeries through a variety of different video systems
  3. Rewilder
    The old name for this job was ‘farmer’. However, the role of the rewilder will not be to raise food crops, as this will be done more and more in highly efficient skyscraper-like greenhouses known as vertical farms. The rewilder’s job will be to undo environmental damage to the countryside caused by people, factories, cars, and intensive one crop monoculture farming (which occurs when only crop is planted over a large area of land).All the traditional requirements of farming will be needed for this role, including managing land and crops, but managing wildlife will also be a necessary skill. Rewilders will be paid not for how successful their crops are, but according to the diversity and health of their land. Degrees in wildlife management, agriculture and environmental sciences will all be relevant.
  4. Garbage designer
    Environmental damage and the build-up of landfills (places where garbage is dumped) have made recycling a norm. However, recycling relies on the idea that the things that we make will inevitably create waste. A new form of recycling that will likely become popular in 2030 is ‘upcycling’.Upcycling is the practice of turning waste into better quality products; for example, old toothbrushes into bracelets, or old magazines into woven place mats or pots for plants. Garbage designers will be key to ensuring the success of upcycling.Garbage designers will need a strong background in materials science and engineering. An interest in industrial design will also be ideal. Familiarity with manufacturing practices and trade will help them identify key points where they can make the most impact.
  5. Healthcare navigator
    A health care navigator knows how hospitals work and they are trained to help patients and their families cope. The navigator teaches patients and their loved ones about the ins and outs of a complicated medical system. The navigator also helps people to manage their contact with the medical system with the least amount of stress and delay.Most navigators are former nurses, but a new generation of navigators is on the rise. These navigators will combine their knowledge of the healthcare system with the skills of a social worker. A good navigator will be able to match the patient’s family with the right people at the right time — whether it’s a doctor, pharmacist, home-care worker or a nurse.

For information about the full list of 2030 job descriptions developed as part of the Inspired Minds project, take a look at the CST careers website.

It remains to be seen which of these career options will actually become a reality. However, the aging workforce, climate change, global mobility and digital technology will certainly mean that young people entering the workforce in 2014 will have a host of new opportunities we can only imagine in the decades to come.

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