New technology brings new careers along for the ride, and new ways to do good for the planet while earning decent money. So what will the graduates of the 2020s be winning employee of the month for in the 2030s?   Alongside their studies, today’s university students and apprentices are currently working hard at saving the planet with their ethics, sustainability and progressive views. Once they’ve graduated, they’ll also be scoring the best futuristic roles. Sure, the world may lose some existing roles to AI programmes and robots, but there are plenty of potential new career paths to go down. Here’s a selection of rewarding jobs that are going to exist in the not-too-distant future.

Drone Pilot

This is a job that already exists, but there is scope for it becoming a huge growth industry. Drones could be used in many innovative ways to keep people safe, whether it’s performing visual checks on inaccessible locations or in extreme weather, carrying deliveries of medicine to people cut off. Or, you know, bringing the latest hyped vegan street food to those in desperate need. Drone operators need similar training to real aircraft pilots, in order to fly safely, so it’s quite highly skilled, pays well and would definitely give sky-high levels of job satisfaction, as well as helping many.

area planners survey the surroundings with a drone, close-up of a hand with a drone remote controller and a laptop, area planning and monitoring concept

Exoskeleton engineer

Lots of extremely clever and well-qualified scientists are making great strides in replacement body parts that match or even exceed the capabilities of regular skin and bone. But in the future, we may well find that as well as restoring damaged or missing limbs and spines, we could opt for bone and muscle-strengthening augmentations or implants. Being able to stand and walk for longer, grip more strongly and lift heavy objects without pain or damage could really help those with hidden disabilities live easier lives. Pass us the adamantium.

Metaverse fashion designer

Starting your own eco-friendly fashion brand in the 2020s is difficult. Leaving aside the time and costs involved in learning relevant skills and starting up any new business, for the conscientious designer there are other issues to navigate. Sourcing sustainably produced fabrics which are still affordable for regular people, and using ethically sound manufacturers, for two. Luckily, the metaverse [link to other article] is coming – and dressing people’s style-conscious avatars in beautifully designed pixels has none of the potentially planet and people-harming downsides.

Ethical crypto broker

In a decade’s time, it’s possible that cash will no longer exist. Debit and credit cards will probably still be what we all use in day-to-day life, but if crypto keeps rocketing in popularity and availability, more people will be able to make a living in trading it. Just as there are ethical investment brokers trading stocks and shares, there’s room for more niche trading in crypto and NFTs. Mining cryptocurrencies can be extremely energy inefficient due to the type of security system used by the likes of Ethereum (which uses enough energy every year to power a major country). Bitcoin requires lots of power-hungry appliances to run. But there are more sustainable blockchain companies working with different processes, smaller cryptocurrencies with lower carbon footprints than the big names, and even new community-owned cryptocurrencies that donate portions of proceeds to charities too. Watch this space and start learning the trade now.

Virtual declutterer

There are lots of reasons why achieving inbox zero, a nice clear desktop and a perfectly ordered cloud system can make people feel happier. But by 2030, the digital clutter we’ve built up may have gone too far for a simple ‘Select All > Delete’. The market will be ripe for a professional online storage organiser to reduce and reorder your cloud storage, unsubscribe you from newsletters and even optimise your device notifications for a more peaceful existence. There’s a huge eco bonus too. The datacentres storing all your old attachments, decades-long WhatsApp convos and fuzzy gig videos are constantly increasing their capacity and power usage. Digitally decluttering people’s lives makes them happier and lowering their carbon footprints helps the planet. Win-win.

Digital fixer

Gone are the days when people could do embarrassing things in public, or even private, and have everyone forget about it in a few weeks or months. Now, with a bit of (bad) luck, you can go viral and have those moments immortalised forever on social media. Enter the digital fixer, the hero that no one knew (in the early 2000s, at least) we would need, to erase anything incriminating from the internet. This is a current, but pretty specialist job in a definite growth industry that has the potential to make social media, and the world generally, a happier place.

The job market of the future may be different in many ways to what we’re used to now, but that just means more opportunities to be part of pioneering industries that can make a difference to the planet or other people.

BREAKING DOWN THE STYLE BARRIERS

As gender-fluid fashion moves into the mainstream, Suzy Holland highlights some of the brands that are leading the way

Read More

TURNING PURPOSE INTO PROFIT

Seven brands that are getting sustainability and equality right. Words: Fleur McGerr

Read More

SMALL BRANDS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

No 1 in a regular series. Words: Syreeta Challinger

Read More

WHY BUY WHEN YOU CAN BORROW?

How fashion joined the sharing economy. Words: Syreeta Challinger

Read More

REFRAMING RESILIENCE

Overcoming huge life changes can seem impossible. Syreeta Challinger charts her story of rebuilding a life and speaks to others who’ve also found their path through uncertainty.

Read More