These 5 hot industries are a safe bet for a career that's future-proof

  • As the globe becomes more technologically oriented, automation and artificial intelligence will continue to replace millions of jobs.
  • According to the recent McKinsey Global Institute Report, 375 million jobs will vanish by 2030.
  • Despite technological innovations, some industries will continue to grow exponentially.
A Brain Corp. autonomous floor scrubber, called an Auto-C, cleans the aisle of a Walmart store.
Source: Walmart
A Brain Corp. autonomous floor scrubber, called an Auto-C, cleans the aisle of a Walmart store.

As the globe becomes more technologically oriented, automation and artificial intelligence are replacing millions of jobs. According to the recent McKinsey Global Institute Report, 375 million jobs will vanish by 2030. Yet there is some good news on the career front: Despite all this technological innovation, there are some industries that are expected to grow alongside automation and AI and some that will continue its stride as populations age and new laws come into effect.

Here are five sectors to consider if you want to ensure you have a career as technology continues to transform the job market in ways you may not begin to imagine.

1. Analytics and big data

Data and analytics are job-skill buzzwords for good reason — the analytics industry is growing massively across all market sectors, and its principles are being applied to every single component of business, from sales and marketing to human resources. Estimates indicate that the industry was valued at $166 billion in 2018 and will only continue to grow. Also, the vast majority of large enterprise leaders believe that if a company doesn't adapt to a data-oriented marketplace, they will lose their competitive advantage, meaning analytics skills won't be out of date anytime soon.

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that by 2020, there will be 2.2 million data and analytics–related jobs posted in the United States and that organizations will struggle to find talent that has industry-specific experience in addition to analytics skills.

Some of the highest growth areas in analytics include data scientists, operations analysts and human resource analysts. However, a foundational analytics skill set will allow people to be business analysts in most industries. The best analysts are able to use data for curiosity and creativity — functions that AI won't be supplanting anytime soon.

2. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as more businesses collect, share and use data as part of their practices. There have been many prominent data scandals in 2018, including the notorious Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal, where the profiles of 87 million people were harvested; and the breach of Marriott's guest reservation system, where the personal information of 327 million guests was accessed. The importance of cybersecurity is underscored by the cost of a breach, with IBM estimating the average cost of a data breach in the United States being $7.35 million.

Despite an increasing need for cybersecurity positions, estimates by Cybersecurity Ventures indicate that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. With average salaries in the United States being around $90,000 per year, if you're looking for an industry with high-paying guaranteed employment, cybersecurity fits the bill. Jobs include security architects, penetration testers, information security analysts and chief information security officers.

3. Health care for the aging

The health-care industry is undergoing a radical shift as medical information is moving out of our hospitals and into our homes, pockets and even into our fashion. Health trackers are expected to be a part of 90 percent of employee wellness plans by 2021, and AI is getting increasingly effective at diagnosing medical issues and supporting treatment plans.

However, as baby boomers reach retirement age, the proportion of the global population that will start needing some form of care, whether medical or social, will increase in turn. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, there will be 2.1 billion people over the age of 60 globally. Though they will be healthier on average than their predecessors, global health-care systems must brace themselves for high demand in geriatric caregiving.

Technology will help caregivers meet the needs of aging individuals by giving them increased connectivity and independence, but a human touch is necessary when dealing with mobility and cognitive-decline issues. The jobs of personal-care aide and home health aide, which provide individualized support to seniors, are expected to undergo significant growth in the United States, not just in terms of demand but in terms of wages as well.

In addition to lower-skilled positions, higher-skilled roles will have a similar increase in demand. The United States has and will continue to have a shortage of qualified physicians, and there will be similarly high needs for nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other medical experts who are trained to support our aging populations. Technology has started to help support our experts, but the need for human care won't go away anytime soon.

4. Renewable energy

The renewable-energy sector has become increasingly important as research indicates that human intervention is required to curb global warming trends. The International Renewable Energy Agency indicated that global jobs in the renewable-energy sector increased to more than 10 million for the first time in 2018, and they expect there to be 28 million jobs in the industry by 2050.

Though there are short-term challenges due to a global decline in public subsidies, private investment is beginning to focus heavily on renewable energy in its stead. Industry giants such as Facebook, Google, Lowe's, T-Mobile, and even Exxon Mobil have committed to using greater amounts of renewable energy, and the American Council on Renewable Energy estimates indicate that between 2018 and 2030, U.S. private investment in renewable energy could breach a cumulative $1 trillion.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics has indicated that solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine technicians are expected to have the highest job growth of any roles by 2026. The solar and wind energy sectors have many other fast-growing positions, with engineering, fabrication, electrical, construction and mechanical skill sets being highly valuable in these sectors. Another market segment experiencing rapid growth is the biofuel and biomass industry, which requires agricultural, biological and chemical expertise. With hemp now federally legalized as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp biofuels, in particular, could also be a growth industry in the United States very soon.

5. Drones

Though drones certainly will be flown by AI in shipping and logistics when traveling from point A to point B, piloting a drone is still primarily manual and done in tandem with AI and software suites. These small unmanned aerial vehicles are going to become integral support for many other large industries, including but not limited to construction, transportation, filmmaking, telecommunications and agriculture. Some examples of uses are photography, filming, mapping, inspections of various kinds, quantity surveying or crop monitoring. The draw of the drone is that it can reach places people can't — or if they can, drones reach it with far less effort.

The drone industry is expected to hit $12.1 billion by 2021, and analyzing the data derived from inspections and monitoring is expected to be a multibillion-dollar ancillary industry.

There is currently high demand for drone pilots, and work often starts at $40/hour, increasing rapidly depending on your experience level and the specific industry you are supporting. Organizations highly value skilled pilots who can minimize the risk involved in technical flights and inspections — particularly when any equipment or infrastructure they are inspecting may be worth millions. As drone usage increases and any related AI becomes more sophisticated, there will be an increased need for compliance and risk-management experts, fleet managers, operational experts and mechanics who can support the industry.

And one to keep an eye on: Cannabis

Cannabis is a burgeoning industry, as there are now more than 30 countries that have legalized medicinal marijuana. Some, including Canada, Mexico and Uruguay, have legalized it recreationally. The industry is expected to grow incredibly quickly, with various estimates indicating it will increase by tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades.

Though it is not legal at the federal level in the United States, recreational cannabis is legal in 10 states, with medicinal cannabis being legal in another 33. Should the United States legalize federally, the industry is anticipated to create well over a million jobs locally. Because it is such a new industry with tremendous capital flowing into it, companies are making large infrastructure and technological investments as part of their rapid growth.

Automation is an inherent part of this growth, but this means any jobs created will work in tandem with automation and be at a low risk of replacement. There are many points of entry into the industry, and people with backgrounds in retail, finance, operations, agriculture, medicine, biochemistry and law, among many others, are all well suited to join. Developing a skill set in the legal cannabis industry early may let you take your career global, as expertise will be in high demand.

Debby Carreau is the founder and CEO of Inspired HR and a member of the CNBC-YPO Chief Executive Network . Follow Debby on Twitter at @DebbyCarreau .

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