Preparing for the unknown: 5 most in-demand roles of the future

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Preparing for the unknown: 5 most in-demand roles of the future

Lim Wen Yi
February 9, 2023

Lim Wen Yi

Wen Yi is a freelance writer who works in strategy consulting. She is passionate about education, policy and graphic design.

October 4, 2023

As we throttle full-speed into a transformation of our 21st century economy, it’s become clear that a university degree is no longer the one-stop-solution to a successful career. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute reported that up to 30% of global work activities will be made obsolete by 2030. 

For universities and educational institutes, this means shifting gears from imparting knowledge to future-ready skills. For employers, this means looking for lifetime learners who thrive in a world of unending disruption. And for those looking to go to university, it’s time to re-evaluate traditionally stable choices in the face of a digital economy.

While today’s youth might feel like they’ve been thrown into the deep-end, this digital revolution opens up a world of opportunities (literally!) for jobseekers. Read on for the 5 most in-demand roles of the future, and the key skills required.

According to LinkedIn’s annual Jobs on the Rise report, 70% of Southeast Asia is now online and hungry for digital services. Expedited by COVID-19, 150 million new technology jobs will be created in the next 5 years. The standout finding is that almost all of these roles can be done remotely. Without a doubt, those equipped with digital skills are at a particular advantage.

Data and AI

Top 5 Skills: Data Science, Data Storage Technologies, Development Tools, Artificial Intelligence, Software Development Life Cycle

In our digital economy, data is the currency of the future. Data Analysts are the most in-demand professionals in Southeast Asia, and 5th most globally, according to the LinkedIn report. The ability to process and unlock the value of data for individuals, businesses and governments is a core 21st century skill. 

Cyber security roles are particularly sought after in Southeast Asia, to meet our need for secure, controlled data as we ramp up digitalization. Other emerging jobs include Artificial Intelligence Specialist, Data Scientist, and Data Engineer.

With 95% of American employers saying that data science skills are hard to find, 21st century learners can be assured that data-savvy employees are in demand across all industries.

Software and Technology

Top 5 Skills: Development Tools, Web Development, Data Storage Technologies, Software Development Life Cycle, Computer Networking

As companies continue to adopt new technologies, demand for special engineering and cloud computing roles remains high. This is particularly so in Southeast Asia, as our economies continue to be driven by manufacturing, trade and urbanization.  

Owing to the pandemic, healthcare, education and finance were fields that saw a spike in demand for technology specialists. However, as the lines continue to blur between business and technology, lifelong learners with an interdisciplinary education will be highly valued in future workplaces. 

Green Economy

Top 5 Skills: Digital Marketing, Wind Turbines, Landfill Gas Collection, Social Media, Equipment Inventory

Growing investments for the development of green technology have resulted in some of the fastest growing professions being found in the Green Economy. According to the International Labour Organisation, 24 million new jobs globally could be created by a shift to a greener economy, with the right policies in place. 

Specifically, the sustainable energy sector will require graduates with relevant vocational skills to support the growth of new technology – the ILO identified renewable energy, electric vehicles and energy efficiency as areas with the most growth potential. There is also significant demand for digital marketing and media skills to boost these new initiatives. 

Sales, Marketing and Content

Top 5 Skills: Digital Marketing, Social Media, Business Management, Digital Literacy, Advertising

It’s no surprise that a growing digital economy has bumped digital marketing to the top of the skills list! Social media and online content production will be key future skills for the creative economy, with traffic for companies like Netflix and Viu increasing by 195% and 140% respectively.

Media leaders surveyed by the Reuters Institute will prioritize revenue streams driven by digital subscriptions, e-commerce and events in the coming year. Many other aspects of sales and marketing, including customer service, partnerships and business development have also turned to digitalization to stay relevant. 

People and Culture

Top 5 Skills: Recruiting, Human Resources, Business Management, Employee Learning, Leadership

While many emerging professions come as the result of digital transformation, some also reflect the irreplaceable presence of human interaction and creativity in our world. 

Emerging job trends highlight that the pandemic has strengthened our appetite for people and culture professionals – in fields such as mental health, customer service and education. 

When faced with an uncertain job market, both individuals and businesses also turned to professional services to help with employment and recruitment. IT recruiters, human resources partners, and talent acquisition specialists are among the prominent emerging jobs in this space. In 2020, there was also a 64% increase in the hiring of workplace diversity experts. 

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