What HR Leaders Need to Know About Jobs of the Future

HCLI Research
Published 25 January 2018

The rapid pace of technological development is transforming the job market. How can HR leaders start preparing their organisations and talent to adapt to these changes and stay ahead of the game?

The concern about a jobless future appears to be more prevalent than ever. Robots are not only replacing humans in mundane and repetitive jobs, but have also begun to take on more sophisticated tasks, such as legal assistance.

However, it will help to look at things from a broader perspective. Work has always changed. Few, if any, people make a living nowadays as telegraphists, switchboard operators, and elevator operators. The Fourth Industrial Revolution’s impact on jobs is just a part of the evolution.

While it is true that many jobs will disappear and that many workers will struggle to adjust, it is equally evident that many new jobs will emerge. HR leaders need to understand the new roles that they will have to fill in the coming decade.

21 Jobs of the Future

At Cognizant, we conducted research on what exactly these jobs of the future will be. Based on the major macroeconomic, political, demographic, societal, cultural, business and technology trends visible today, we have pinpointed 21 new jobs that will emerge over the next 10 years and become cornerstones of the future of work.

These jobs have the potential to create mass employment, provide work for scores of people, and are not to be confused with science fiction. With a three-point common theme centred on the human touch, we believe that these jobs will stay relevant, no matter what new technologies emerge on the horizon. Some of the jobs are highly technical, others not so much.


HR leaders must start preparing their organisations for these jobs by considering a change in organisational structure to fit these new roles, and planning to start attracting the right talent. In fact, we have already developed some sample job descriptions to give you a flavour of what is to come.

The Skills to Pay the Bills

Today’s workforce needs to start preparing for the coming wave of change in the job market, and HR leaders can already start prepping their talent by choosing one of the three areas of human touch to excel in — Coaching, Caring and Connecting. This will ensure that they can stay employed over the next 10 years.

1. Coaching

Coaches can reshape work by making it more engaging, humane and purposeful. Those who have a flair for mentoring and helping people to improve at things (managing their finances, managing their weight, etc.) should hone those skills.

2. Caring

Forward-thinking organisations will focus on making the best of people, not just the best of technology. Workers with social intelligence and the ability to make sense of complex processes will be in high demand to improve people’s health and wellness.

3. Connecting

Workers with a collaborative mind-set will be key to helping connect the dots in a technology-led workplace. This includes building bridges between man and machine, “traditional” and “shadow” IT, the physical and the virtual worlds, as well as commerce with ethics.

For example, with the explosion in digital banking, cryptocurrency and micro-lending/ robo-advising, Financial Wellness Coaches will need to marry the traditional field of financial advisory with digital banking tools, to help optimise customers’ financial lives. A role such as this will marry all three aspects of Coaching, Caring and Connecting.

On the other side of things, Man-Machine Teaming Manager is a new role that will help to lead the transition to a new hybrid workforce, where human-machine collaboration will rule. The teaming manager will need to help people work in tandem with machines, tapping on both their Coaching and Connecting capabilities.

Although the future of work may seem hazy, the bottom line is that machines are tools that need to be used by people.

To imagine otherwise is to fall into the realm of science fiction extrapolation.

The future of work is better work — roles that will be more enjoyable, more satisfying, more lucrative, and more worthwhile than many current ones. HR leaders need to start gearing up their organisations for this shift in the job market using the three areas of human touch as their guide. The rise of the new machine means that business transformation could occur more quickly than anticipated by organisations, often creating skill imbalances, and HR leaders must be prepared.

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