Hot Jobs For The Future - Part 2

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CareerPlanner.com Inc

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The Automation Trend

We have only seen the first wave of automation in our lives. The effect so far has been to eliminate jobs involving highly repetitive tasks. The net effect has been fewer "unskilled" jobs.

Automation is the result of the need to reduce cost which in turn is driven by a company's need to become more competitive, to be able to grow market share, and to generate higher earnings for investors. Automation, one of the first methods for reducing cost, had been a big trend between 1950 and 2000.

Jobs that were not easily mechanized, such as many manufacturing jobs, have already been moved to countries where the cost of labor is cheaper. Most of these jobs have been relocated to Mexico, Taiwan, India and China. Ten years from now, as the labor costs in those countries rise, the jobs may move to Africa or North Korea.

The next phase of automation will not occur in the factory, but in our homes, in our lives, and in the information that we use.



The last wave of automation in the home was to mechanize simple repetitive tasks such as dish washing and clothes washing. Home automation is driven by the need to save time.

What are the next opportunities to save time in the home:

  • Preparing meals
  • Cleaning the house
  • Acquiring groceries
  • Helping children with homework
  • Educating the children
  • Ironing the clothes
  • Making the bed

Say Goodbye To:
Data Entry, Programming, Tech Support and Customer Service Jobs

A new trend dubbed "Offshoring" which became obvious in ~1998 is for entry level "knowledge worker" jobs such as programming, customer service, tech support, and accounting to be moved to countries with English speaking lower cost workers. This trend is just getting started and it could hollow out the English speaking economies of North America and Europe.

A large portion of programming, tech support, data entry, and accounting jobs can be handled remotely from countries such as India where they speak perfectly polite Queen's English, and where they have excellent educational systems. This puts many lucrative jobs at risk.

Even extremely high tech, high skill jobs such as Analog Integrated Circuit Designers have started moving offshore to India and China. Taiwan already has several home grown integrated circuit design houses. Eventually, Silicon Valley companies will no longer be willing to pay high prices for local circuit design talent, they will use talent in China and India whenever possible.

Unless the government intervenes, English speaking countries with low labor cost and well educated people will pull high paying hot jobs out of the United States and Europe.

What does this mean for someone just now planning their career. Proximity and creativity are the key. You really have two choices:

  • Look for a job that requires a very high level of skill or creativity such as being a writer, designer, musician, inventor, marketing strategist, or film actor.
  • Learn a trade or skill that requires hands on presence such as a carpenter, nurse, physician, dental hygienist, or hair stylist.

Essentially you want to pick a job that requires your physical presence and that can not easily be done remotely. Combining proximity with creativity in a career gives you added security.

Does this mean you should panic and get out of software development or any other high tech, high paying job? It depends.

The first projects to move offshore are usually the most simple, low risk projects. Adding distance and cultural differences almost always adds time and complexity to any development project. The types of projects that will stay onshore:

  • Need to be done very quickly
  • Are very complex
  • Require lots of face to face interaction
  • Are tough to define and highly ambiguous

Projects that represent low risk to management, such as making minor upgrades to a product, or copying someone else's product, will most certainly be moved offshore.

Click here to see a list of jobs that are safe from offshoring

Skilled Trades Looking Very Good

The good news is that the traditional skilled trades such as carpentry, plumbing, electrician, hair stylist, construction contractors, auto mechanics, dental hygienists look good in terms of being secure from moving offshore. The main threat will be lower cost labor coming across the Mexico / US border.

Since you can't have an auto mechanic who is located in China tune up your car in the US, these types of jobs will be secure from low cost foreign labor. Because of proximity, we strongly recommend the traditional trades. Make sure you pick the one that is right for you. CareerPlanner.com's Career Test can help you figure this out.

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