What Will the Job Market Look like in 20 years?

October 15, 2021

The labor markets are in the midst of a huge disruption.  The September Non-Farm Payroll Report released last week showed three key numbers:

  • A .4% drop in the unemployment rate, from 5.2% to 4.8%.
  • A 4.6% wage growth (annualized)
  • And 11 million unfilled job openings

In addition, consider the various changes impacting jobs:

  • Wage growth overall has lagged our economic growth for 50 years
  • 18 months of remote work has changed our perception of our jobs
  • Early retirement is reducing available workers
  • Childcare remains a challenge in most of the country
  • Demographics is increasing demand for specific jobs
  • Technology keeps creating and destroying entire markets
  • Covid-19 is still a threat to frontline workers

Automation is driving huge number of jobs away (and creating new ones).  Please take a look at the chart below from Bank of America’s Haim Israel, showing likely declines:

The chart shows that retail businesses are changing dramatically.  Likely decreases are expected for retail salespersons, fast food and counter workers, servers, cooks and others. Amazon Go is already here- a convenience store with no personnel.  You select products by yourself and pay using a self-checkout station.  Other jobs that will likely decrease are administrative assistants, office clerks, bookkeepers, accountants and auditors, construction laborers, and shipping clerks.

Nurses and teachers seem to have more job security.  Jobs that require math and computer skills, higher education, creativity and social skills should be in high demand.

In addition to the jobs that are not shown in the chart above as declining, here are twenty jobs, many of them created by technology, that appear to have a strong future as well:

  1. Coders. Code serves as the foundation for computer programs and software applications. Its instructions make everything from operating systems to games work properly. Coding is becoming one of the most sought-after skills for tech companies and research groups.   In the UK, schools are adding coding to the primary school curriculum and one school hired a 10 year old prodigy as a teacher.
  2. Cybersecurity Analyst. These “white hat hackers” protect company hardware, software and networks from cybercriminals.
  3. Big Data Analyst.These folks are becoming the new leaders in the niche of businesses development.   They like numbers and breaking down complex information into algorithms that help companies make important decision decisions.
  4. AI Jobs. This is about making functional robots and enhancing business processes.
  5. Data Detective.These data inspectors would hunt down the use of data by certain companies, to help enforce data laws.
  6. Geneticist. With the power to edit genes, we should be able to reduce the risk of serious health conditions and vastly improve the quality of life for many people.
  7. Mental Health Specialist. Just as we will always need doctors and nurses, we will also need mental health specialists to help us get through tough times.
  8. Data Brokers. Data brokers will be responsible for facilitating business agreements between data companies and those who want to buy chunks of data; making sure that the data is not further shared, thereby maintaining the integrity of the new data market.
  9. Drone Pilot. Drones are becoming part of our society-providing medical supplies, assessing building structures and wind turbines and revolutionizing delivery services.  Drone experts will be needed to manufacture machines, maintain them and fly them.
  10. Software Developers.They create new systems to automate processes. They analyze, understand execute, and perform maintenance for platforms and write code that builds businesses and services.
  11. Customer Experience Specialist. They provide all necessary assistance to a client/customer when a certain product is bought or a service is hired.
  12. Creator. They create online content and are digital influencers. They help connect brands with people; both existing and new customers.
  13. Advisor to Creators. They help creators develop partnerships with companies and guide and manage creator career paths.
  14. Online teacher.To share their knowledge through online courses as part of the online classroom.
  15. Coach. Lots of coaches- fitness, romance, emotional intelligence, weight loss, spirituality, etc.
  16. Waste Manager. We produce lots of waste.  The waste manager creates new solutions to find better ways to deal with all that discarded material.
  17. Specialist in renewable or alternative energy.
  18. Wealth Manager.This position helps families identify and meet their financial and personal goals and requires math/computer skills, higher education, creativity and social skills.
  19. Walker/Talker.They spend time with elderly customers. Lots of older people live far from their families and don’t have anyone to talk to. The elderly want and need someone to listen to them and really pay attention to what they have to say.
  20. Social Media Analyst.They plan, create and analyze profile posts on social media to help companies grow their brand.


The biggest insight for the years to come is thinking about careers that deal with creativity and relationship.  Computers cannot adequately accomplish these.  In addition, not only are jobs changing but the concept of success is also under scrutiny.  We’re living longer and a job that makes you happy makes more and more sense.

The world is changing fast.  Technology and automation are making some jobs obsolete and creating new ones.  Are you and those you love ready for the huge changes coming in the job market?  We hope so.




Detterbeck Wealth Management is a fee-only financial planning / wealth management company with offices located in Palatine, IL (Chicago area) and Charleston, SC areas serving clients locally and across the country. To contact us about setting up an appointment, please see our contact us page