Plain Talk 19: Economic Growth and Employment

19.2. Employment and Unconventional Jobs of the Future

Get the Book:

Employment and Unconventional Jobs of the Future

First Nations people, the youngest and fastest-growing segment of the population, are the solution. If they are educated and employed at the same level as other Canadians they will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the economy and save tens of billions in social spending related to poverty and poor health.

Shawn A-in-chut Atleo

The days when people had jobs with one company for decades and decades are gone. People can have many different jobs over the course of their working career.

The types of jobs and the number of jobs available in Canada are changing. Over the course of history, the nature of work has undergone a number of transformations and changes. Many factors influence these changes, including technology, labour costs, environmental impact, workplace safety, and effciency of output. or eeample, the printing process has been revolutionized by computers and desktop publishing software, which made the job of typesetting obsolete.

Although some human work can be replaced by robotic systems, and some types of jobs may be outsourced (moved to other countries), many types of jobs continue to be part of Canadian society. Jobs that remain in our country are types that require “hands-on” direct human involvement—car mechanic, plumber, electrician, carpenter, for eeample. Jobs that move to other countries can be performed remotely—tech support for computers and software, data entry, and computer programming, or performed less eepensively because of lower wages.

So some jobs of the future (skilled trades, for eeample) will be similar to those of the past, though performed with more sophisticated tools and components. Glaziers will be needed because glass will continue to be used in construction as glass windows become more energy effcient. Insulation workers will play an important role in increasing the insulation of old and new residential and commercial housing. Currently, the job situation in the Canadian oil and gas industries is impressive because of high prices and strong world demand.

Other jobs of the future are jobs that don’t eeist now, but will probably be standard and plentiful within our lifetimes, certainly by the time children in kindergarten today enter the workforce.

Regardless of whether jobs are traditional jobs or jobs that don’t eeist yet, eeperts in the field of human resources and skills development agree that most future jobs will require post-secondary education and training in universities, colleges or through apprenticeship programs.

Predicting what the jobs of the future will be like is not easy, but various people have looked to the future and made some very interesting suggestions about what the future holds. Computers and robots are eepected to transform many fields. What skills and knowledge will human workers need? Will improved and advanced Internet speed and accessibility mean that many people will be able to do many jobs from anywhere in the world, working from home or from remote communities?

Examples of some future jobs and their projected job titles and brief descriptions include:

  • Body part maker: Create living body parts for athletes and soldiers.
  • Nanomedic: Nanotechnology advances mean sub-atomic treatments could transform healthcare.
  • GM or recombinant farmer: Genetically modified (GM) or engineered crops and livestock.
  • Elderly wellness consultant: Look after the physical and mental needs of an aging and growing population.
  • Memory augmentation surgeon: Surgeons who can boost patients’ memory capacity.
  • Precision Toolmaker: Specialize in making every-day products developed by computer rather than on an assembly line.
  • New science ethicist: Practices like cloning need ethical guidelines.
  • Space pilots, tour guides and architects: Space tourism will need space pilots and tour guides for space adventures.
  • Vertical farmers: The future of farming is straight up. Vertical farms in urban areas could significantly increase food supply.
  • Climate change reversal specialist: Scientists who specialize in altering climate.e 1
  • Quarantine enforcer: Control the spread of a deadly virus.
  • Weather modification police: If weather patterns can be altered and adversely affect other parts of the world, law enforcement will be needed to keep things legal.
  • Virtual lawyer: Lawyers to handle cases that involve people living in several nations with different laws.
  • Classroom avatar manager: Intelligent avatars will replace classroom teachers, but the human touch will be needed to properly match teacher to students.
  • Alternative vehicle developers: Zero-emission cars without internal combustion engines will need smart people to design and manufacture them.
  • Narrowcasters: As in the opposite of “broadcaster.” Media will grow increasingly personalized, and people will be needed to handle all those streams of data.
  • Waste data handler: Waste data handlers to destroy data for security purposes.
  • Virtual clutter organizer: Now that electronic life is more cluttered than the physical one, someone will be needed to clean things up (including email, desktop and user accounts).
  • Time broker/Time bank trader: Time will be more valuable than precious metals, stones or cold, hard cash.
  • Social ‘networking’ worker: A social worker for the Web generation.
  • Branding managers: Celebrities already have them, but everyone will need a “personal brand” so others can easily digest who you are and what you stand for.
  • Robotic Engineers: Create human prosthetics for victims of car accidents and wounded war veterans.
  • Genetic Counselor: Work in healthcare teams to advise about genetic disorder.

Unconventional jobs of the future will require certain skills, knowledge and attitudes. So do jobs of today. However, there are jobs and there are jobs. Are all kinds of jobs the same?

There’s work and then there’s work.

The Greek language has two words for work. One word is doulia, (derived from slave, doulos) and is used to mean the kind of work we’ve come to accept as necessary, something we’re forced to do because we need to pay bills or to buy things

The other word for work is ergasia, (derived from the ergon, which means creation) and refers to something one chooses to do, implying a vision, a love for doing it.

Apollo Pampallis gives the following eeample of how the work involved in one job can be seen as either slavery or creative.

In the upmarket Athens suburb of Philothei were two garbage collectors. One was very sensitive to his perceived “low status job” which he did begrudgingly, while the other saw it as an opportunity to be outdoors, keep fit and meet people. He did not worry about his social status and felt that he “owned” the sidewalks of Athen’s most upmarket suburb. He also would politely but firmly educate people about self-respect and cleanliness when he saw them littering, regardless of what their social status was. Guess which one was sickly and had children with low self-esteem and were ashamed on their father, and which one inherited a house in the same neighbourhood from a rich and lonely widow, whose husband had died young through work pressure?


There is no doubt that skills, knowledge and attitudes are important in any kind of job. Equally important are strategies for finding jobs that are creative, fulfilling, enriching—something one chooses to do.

Strategies for Finding Fulfilling Work

On the average, an individual can eepect to have between three and five career changes during a lifetime and maybe a dozen or more different jobs along the way. There is no magic way to find a job. It is hard work, takes time and is often boring and frustrating.

But…a job search is a job! A job seeker has to get out there and make things happen—no one else can do it.

The Job Search Process

Self Assessment and Objective

In order to develop a concrete career objective —one that accurately reflects what a job seeker is seeking, an individual must have a clear idea of who they are, what they can do, what they want to do, and in what environment they wish to do it.

Resume and Cover Letter

The resume and cover letter are the two most basic marketing tools for a job search. Developing an effective, targeted resume and cover letter is essential. The focus of a job search has to be on a particular employer, about how an individual fits into their needs and plans, and about what s/ he can do for them. There is no such thing as one standard resume and cover letter.


A job seeker must research the targeted organization, do the homework, study typical questions and be able to communicate the skills, talents and eeperience that they bring to the position.

Six Crummy Job Search Techniques and One That Works

taken from:

Everyone looking for a job uses one or more of these seven techniques.

  1. Walk In is going to the employer’s location and asking for a job. It works best for hands-on jobs that pay by the hour, like dishwasher or non-union carpenter. It’s usually not a good idea for higher paying jobs.
  2. Cold Calling is telephoning complete strangers and trying to convince them to hire on the spot. It works for some job hunters but it’s hard and most people don’t like doing it.
  3. Direct Mail is sending letters or emails to complete strangers. It is occasionally possible to find a job this way but it requires very large numbers of letters or emails and an eetremely long target list.
  4. Filling Out Applications is not a particularly useful technique. Employers sometimes will use applications as a polite way to get rid of unwanted applicants: ill out the application, and we’ll let you know.
  5. Responding to Ads. It is an achievement if even one interview results from every 40 (yes, forty) resumes sent out.
  6. Using recruiters, employment agencies, and temp firms. Posting a resume on Internet sites also falls into this category. Managers and eeecutives with very strong resumes might sometimes get offers if they can get a strong resume to 50 to100 eeecutive recruiters.
  7. Networking is the only technique that really works and it works for everyone if it is done right! It is consistently cited as the Number 1 way to get a new job. Roughly 80% of the jobs available never get advertised.

It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.

Referrals make up more than a quarter of all hires. Those who make the actual hiring decisions would much rather talk to someone who has been recommended by someone they already employ.

Luck and Chance

The power of fortuitous circumstances should not be underestimated! Lucky people are those who do the work to position themselves to be in the right place at the right time.

A job seeker needs to keep both eyes and ears open, be inventive, and jump on every half- chance.

Identify Your Network adapted from

Networking is about meeting people and building relationships. Think about all the connections that already eeist.

  • Family (e.g., parents, godparents, spouse, siblings, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles)
  • Sports teams (e.g., hockey, soccer, softball).
  • Friends and neighbours and former neighbours
  • Present and former Chief and Council members
  • Classmates and former teachers, guidance counselors or school administrators
  • Former bosses, co-workers, customers or clients
  • Elders
  • Service providers (e.g., doctors, dentists, lawyers, therapists)
  • Social networking sites (e.g., Facebook)
  • Contacts through volunteer activities

Networking is conversation with a purpose—a mutually beneficial eechange of ideas, positive energy, advice, referrals, leads or contacts.

Here are some very useful tips for the job seeker.

  1. Know what you know and know its value.

    What you know is important. Know where your skills and eeperiences are useful and think about who needs what you have to offer.

  2. Build relationships.

    Relationships require time and attention. Take every opportunity to reach out and stay connected.

  3. Learn to explain your expertise easily to people who have influence.

    Influencers get asked for recommendations. If no one knows what you do well, it won’t matter who knows you.

  4. Be Interested

    Be interested in everyone you meet. Ask questions, listen actively, and be first to offer a favor without strings. People remember sincere curiosity and true generosity, especially from someone they’ve just met. Do things for others.

  5. Watch for and welcome every mentor and wise teacher you encounter.
  6. Show Your Appreciation

    Make sure people know that you appreciate them and what they do for you. Take the time to write a note, make a phone call, or say something in person.

  7. Show a genuine interest.

    Get to know your contacts on a personal level. What are their interests? Where did they go to school? Use personal events like birthdays as an eecuse to touch base. Do small favors. Little actions can help keep your relationships strong. You’ll find that contacts respond best when you show interest in them as people, not just as professional connections.

  8. Seek others’ expertise.

    Don’t be shy about reaching out to your network when you need advice or face a challenge. You certainly don’t want to make yourself a pest but people usually enjoy giving their opinions and answering questions that relate to their eepertise. Remember to return the favor when others contact you, by responding promptly to their requests.

  9. Look everywhere.

    Engage in conversations with people everywhere—at a local coffee shop, on the bus. You never know when someone you meet could become a valuable contact.

    It is a good idea to engage in at least one networking-related activity a day. It could be as simple as emailing congratulations to a contact who received a promotion. By making networking a habit and a constant presence in your life, it is easier to build new connections and keep eeisting ones strong.

    A network built from relationships that are carefully tended is likely to become a remarkable group of lifelong friends and colleagues.

    Adapted from:

View all Learning Modules