Trending Careers / Top jobs for 2020


The MOST important thing to remember here is that career opportunities are changing. For example:

  • When you think of construction, do you think of brick laying? Well, a lot of buildings now are partially assembled offsite, may be made of steel, glass, wood, and the construction industry needs a lot of digital skills, for virtual modelling, design, engineering (e.g. building in confined spaces) and project managers.

  • When you think of healthcare, do you just think of doctors and nurses? There are over 200 different career options in healthcare, including estate management, specialist technician roles, business management and technology-related work.

  • When you think of creative arts, do you think about 3D design, digital advertising, technical writers…. as well as fashion, performing arts, and art?
You get the point- there is A LOT more to each sector than our parents or teachers will have experienced. Many of the career opportunities developing now did not exist 10 years ago, or even 5.

An even bigger challenge is that most careers exist in subjects and expertise which aren’t part of the school National Curriculum. This means you have to research and ask for guidance, to make an informed decision about your future. This is critical, prior to choosing GCSEs, A levels or T levels, Apprenticeships, vocational qualifications or University

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your areas of interest and strengths:

There are thousands of job vacancies in the U.K. created by staff retiring and new growth areas. These include:

  • Cloud technology
  • Cyber security
  • Data analytics
  • Healthcare
  • Engineering
At a time when we know there is a great deal of growing automation, there are many skills that require ‘human intervention’ and leadership. This is a summary from the Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum:

See our News and Blogs sections for information on specific industry opportunities, featured in recent media coverage.

Here’s a useful article published by the Careers Writers Association, © Helen Janota   April 2019:

No one can predict all the jobs young people will be able to choose from in the second half of the 21st century but here are just a few of the jobs that are likely to be in demand over the next 15 years.

  1. Care worker
    By 2039 (1) the number of people aged 75+ will have doubled meaning a huge demand for people to work in care. Hugely rewarding, these can be careers with plenty of opportunities to progress.
  2. Software developer
    Computer programming skills are the most sought after area of expertise in the UK – they’re needed everywhere! From cloud computing to artificial intelligence to business intelligence to gaming – and other possibilities yet to be imagined.
  3. Online merchandiser
    Your mobile or tablet screen is the digital equivalent to a shop window and needs to attract those all-important sales too. eCommerce is one of the key job areas in retail these days and will continue to play a major role as more people shop online.
  4. Big data analyst
    How do you keep track of all the information stored about people and their preferences and what can it all tell us? Engineering UK estimates that we’ll create 157,000 new jobs in big data by 2020 – that’s a big number!
  5. Carpenters and joiners
    The UK construction industry needs thousands of people every year to take up both manual and non-manual roles. Apprenticeships can help plug the gaps in skilled roles such as wood trades, bricklaying and electrics.
  6. Cyber security expert
    No-one wants to fall victim to cyber-based crime which is why the government is trying to tackle the issue by providing apprenticeships to encourage young people to choose this growing sector.
  7. Nurse
    There are currently over 40,000 nursing vacancies in the UK (2) with most hospitals experiencing shortages and this is likely to continue growing. Bursaries for nursing degrees have been replaced with fees but there are now more routes into the career with degree apprenticeships in nursing an option.
  8. Diagnostics technician (light vehicle)
    Cars are fitted with more electronics than you can shake a stick at these days and it’s the job of a diagnostics technician to spot the fault. With more electric and driverless vehicles hitting the road every year can we manage without them?
  9. Epidemiologist
    There will be lots of jobs in life sciences. Epidemiologists research the causes and effects of viruses and diseases in an increasingly global society.
  10. Large Goods Vehicle driver
    In huge demand across the country, LGV and HGV drivers support the UK logistics industry and keep everything running to time.
  11. Smart meter fitter
    The government wants all homes and small businesses to be equipped with smart meters to measure energy use. How many fitters does it take to install smart meters in 50 million homes? Quite a few.
  12. Food technologist
    Agri-food is a growing sector with plenty of different job roles that will be really important for the future and it’s crying out for young people to join the industry.
  13. Aircraft pilotO
    ver half a million new pilots will be needed across the globe over the next 20 years (3) as passenger numbers increase and current pilots retire. Pay and prospects are good.
  14. Accountant
    Businesses and individuals need accountants to keep on top of the financial running of their business. And with more people turning to self-employment, the demand will continue.
  15. Teacher
    What would we do without them? We need more primary school teachers because the numbers of children in this age group are growing. We need secondary school teachers to teach physics, maths, chemistry and languages. We need teachers!
  16. Production manager
    Still an important sector in the UK, manufacturing especially needs people with good management skills to make sure everything runs smoothly.
  17. Fitness instructor
    We all know we should be keeping healthy. Fitness instructors can give us that helping hand.
  18. VFX / CGI
    It’s all about the special effects these days! The UK TV and film sector is extremely good at creating these and to keep it that way we need homegrown experts.
  19. Sales accounts managers
    All sectors need people skilled at selling things. There are lots of opportunities for those who can.
  20. Mechanical engineer
    Engineers are well paid and in demand. The UK expects that 203,000 people with engineering skills at level 3 and above will be needed every year through to 2024 (4).Some areas of work may be growing fast but we’ll always need people to replace those who leave.
Remember though, jobs will be emerging that haven’t yet been thought up – making sure you develop a range of skills, and keep learning new ones, will help you to jump to new roles.

Here’s a sample of key information on future jobs and emerging career options:

To give you an idea of how diverse career options are, take a look at this extract (referenced in the Times Education Supplement)

Jobs of the future

Fancy becoming a \"virtual architect\" or a \"digital life assistant\"? Read on for our top 10 job predictions.

1. Virtual architect/avatar designer

Ian Pearson, futurologist and author of You Tomorrow, predicts a big growth in opportunities in the \"augmented reality\" sector in 20 years time.

'Virtual architects will design holograms for people and buildings using computer-generated images - turning a person into an avatar and over-laying shop fronts with an image to suit the brand. A tropical rainforest, a medieval castle, another planet, anything is possible.'

2. Human-machine disputes manager

'In the future many of our interactions with companies and machines will only be available via the machines themselves or via the internet, email (automatically generated) or avatars or robots,' says Richard. 'When the computer says \"No\" we're going to need dispute managers to step in and resolve the case.'

3. 3D craftsperson

According to futurologist Ian Pearson, we're likely to see a new renaissance in arts and crafts thanks to advances in 3D printing. 'New technology will allow people to make art objects that they don't have the skills to actually sculpt. We'll need more designers too, thanks to the ability of new materials to let almost any surface become an electronic display surface.'

4. Global mobility consultant

The job of global mobility consultant already exists (they help workers relocate from one country to another) and we can expect to see more roles in the future.

'Globalisation of the business world is happening more quickly than ever before,' says Nannette Ripmeester, founder and director of Expertise in Labour Mobility. 'As companies hire from other countries, the need for global mobility consultants with an understanding and knowledge of different customs and recruitment practises will be in greater demand.'

5. Renewable energy specialist

The UK is investing heavily in renewable energy - the government has already spent £5.7 billion in wind, wave, solar and biomass energy and plans to spend billions more to ensure that the UK is capable of delivering 90 per cent of its renewable energy by 2020. Ernst & Young has ranked Britain fifth in the world in attractiveness to renewable investors - and with more companies setting up business, renewable energy specialists are likely to be in hot demand.

6. Digital life manager

The internet has revolutionised the world in the last 20 years but the advances we've seen are just the beginning. As more information and services are put online, it's likely that we'll need to employ assistants to manage our virtual worlds. 'Digital life assistants will be needed to design, co-ordinate and maintain all our online stuff,' says Ian Pearson.

7. Cyber security officer

Internet hackers aren't just the stuff of TV and movie shows. With more of the world's sensitive information and vital services being controlled digitally (like water, nuclear energy aerospace and banking), there will be increasing demand for cyber security officers to protect it from hackers and online terrorists.

Futurevision: scenarios for the world in 2040 by Richard Watson
You Tomorrow by Ian Pearson