Top Jobs for 2025 and Beyond
The debate on whether machines will take over our jobs has been raging long before I entered the workforce, and guess what? No matter how advanced the technology, how large the cloud, or how artificial the intelligence, jobs will always be around. The question is: Which Jobs?
The top skills required over the next decade are definitely not the ones from the last decade. With new requirements popping up every single day and old jobs disappearing, not preparing for the future is likely the biggest mistake one can make at the moment.
Think of every job that exists right now and imagine it gone tomorrow. Now get comfortable with constantly restarting from the bottom of the pyramid and climbing up; because when the machines take over our existing jobs, the excuse of ‘I didn’t see this coming’ or the cry of ‘us against the machines’ will no longer hold. So, here are the top skills for 2025 and beyond.
The Skills Everyone Needs
1. Dealing with other humans
Let’s start with the most obvious. This is one skill that is valuable now and will continue to be valuable until humans exist. There will always be jobs, there will always be teams and there will always be the need to get people working together. Skills that involve leading effective teams, being empathetic, negotiating well, and influencing will continue to stay valuable for at least the next 10 years if not more. While algorithms are already in use to influence purchasing decisions, it will take a fair bit of evolution for machines to be able to negotiate, influence, and manage teams effectively. The better you get on with people, the more likely you are to succeed at work and beyond.
2. Digital and data literacy
When I first started my career, it was acceptable (even fashionable) to say ‘I am not good with numbers’ and still be a strong human resource professional. In the first year of my career, I saw senior leaders struggle with v-lookups and pivots. Fast forward to five years later, saying you didn’t understand how to manipulate or decipher data became a death blow to your career progression and now, not being data literate could mean losing your job. In the future, the more you know how to harness data, the more likely you are to keep your job. The same with digital literacy. Per a McKinsey report, with generative AI, automation could take over tasks accounting for 29.5 percent of the hours worked in the US economy by 2030. At a minimum, every professional will be expected to figure out how large language models and generative AI can be leveraged in their roles.
Call it adaptability quotient, curiosity, creativity, or the innovator mindset, as long as you are capable of breaking new ground, you will have a job. Those who can redefine the norm, envisage, and create the future version of the current job will be in high demand. The good news is that we are all born creators who are educated out of our natural creativity and curiosity.
The Top Six Trenders
Now that we’ve got the skills every future workforce participant needs to have out of the way, let’s start getting more specific.
1. Life coaches
With the rapid pace of change, increasing uncertainty, and the quest for self-discovery, everyone will need a life coach. While I started as a skeptic, my first life coaching made me look at the profession with a completely new lens. Not only do these coaches ace the first skill mentioned above, but they do what most people don’t have the time to do anymore: listen! Per a report in 2020, life coaching is the second-fastest-growing industry in the world with an average yearly growth of 6.7%. The demand for life coaches continues to trend upwards and the industry is expected to keep growing at about a 5.4% growth rate. If life coach is too broad a space, given the rise in dual careers and side gigs, consider pursuing a career as a side gig consultant where you coach people to discover their secondary and tertiary sources of non-passive income.
2. Content curators
If the last few decades have been the era of content creators, the next wave is that of content curators. I am sure you will agree that there is far too much content out there and it isn’t always easy to find the right content. I spend hours every evening trying to find the next new podcast to get hooked on and the search isn’t easy. I turn to the people and influencers I trust for recommendations. And now with AI generating content, content creators face stiff competition. LinkedIn has already started creating posts using AI, seeking feedback from users to test for long-term viability. We need content curators who can sift through the noise and point us in the right direction. Do you have a knack for picking the best content? Do friends often turn to you for recommendations on which content to consume? This job is probably for you.
3. ESG (Environmental, social and corporate governance) experts
Per McKinsey’s report, more than 90 percent of S&P 500 companies now publish ESG reports in some form, as do approximately 70 percent of Russell 1000 companies. Inflows into sustainable funds rose from $5 billion in 2018 to more than $50 billion in 2020—and then to nearly $70 billion in 2021; these funds gained $87 billion of net new money in the first quarter of 2022, followed by $33 billion in the second quarter. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering new rules that would require more detailed disclosure of climate-related risks and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Additional SEC regulations on other facets of ESG have also been proposed or are pending. If you need more convincing, take a look at the government incentives being put forth. There is no doubt that with every passing year, experts who advise organizations on how to tackle ESG compliance and investments will be in high demand.
4. Cyber security and ethical hacking
Closely following ESG, the second biggest area of investment for countries is cybersecurity and defense. Increased unrest between countries and what is being touted as the emergence of the Second Cold War has led to more money being invested in bolstering defense than over the past few years. Cyber and biological warfare is the modern-day choice of attack. Organizations are also facing an increasing threat from hackers. If you are an expert in cyber security, you are guaranteed to be in demand in the coming decade.
5. Remote cultivator
Research shows that 70% of managers at Fortune 100 companies have at least one remote team member. At the same time, teams are becoming increasingly distributed. At Microsoft, 61% of teams were all in the same location; today that number is 27%. With the push to return to office, there is an increased effort on rolling out initiatives that are office-centric; yet the reality is that teams will continue to be distributed and employees remote. In the coming years, a remote cultivator will help organizations understand how to prevent discrimination and increase the sense of belonging along with improved collaboration for those who aren’t in the same office as their peers. They will be experts in not only traditional DEI but also in developing global competency and emerging work practices such as asynchronous modes of communication.
6. Core tech
Lastly, reports indicate that core tech will continue to dominate the jobs market. While the expectations from the job may change, core tech skills will not. With the quarterly earnings report of every big tech mentioning GenAI, if you can add LLM and GenAI skills on top of existing tech skills, you are probably best poised to continue to be one of the highest-paid in the market.
As much as we’d like to wish things didn’t change as quickly as they are, the oft-quoted yet disliked mantra of ‘the only constant is change’ is truer now than ever. The change of pace is exhausting as long as we try to resist it. Once we embrace it, it gets easier to ask for help and prepare ourselves for what might be coming. While the list above is only a first glimpse into what the future holds, one can never tell for sure. Meanwhile, I am experimenting with at least two other skills to see which one may turn into my second career. I hope you are too.
~Ankita Poddar is an HR professional and blogger based out of Dublin. She is a contributing author for leading HR sites.