The Open University predicts the future’s most in-demand jobs

The most in-demand future jobs have been forecasted by the Open University’s future trends predictor, revealing the world’s most coveted career paths.

The future trends predictor has generated a list of the most in-demand jobs expected for growth within the next five years, which it has obtained through social media listening. Using this data, the Open University is collaborating with industry-leading entrepreneurs to inspire people to change careers and plug the skills gap in the various industries.

The novel Open University campaign has been endorsed by entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and expertise, ranging from digital technology to sustainability – both of which are growing sectors in the UK – where a plethora of in-demand jobs are in desperate need of skilled people.

The entrepreneurs include ex-British Lions Captain turned digital expert Sam Warburton, OBE, global supermodel and sustainability campaigner Eunice Olumide, MBE, Artificial Intelligence specialist Priya Lakhani, OBE, and founder of Pleesecakes Joe Moruzzi. These industry experts have all shown the initiative to pounce on opportunities in the job market and change their career paths to lucrative, in-demand jobs, which is why they are partnering with the Open University to encourage others to take an occupational leap of faith.

The profession pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, the Open University experienced 3.1 million enrolments to its “OpenLearn” platform, more than the previous 14 years combined (2.4 million). Their insights team with Yonder Consulting has identified that 36% of adults in the UK are considering changing careers within the next 12-18 months, rising to 57.6% for people aged 16-30. Such a substantial number of people aspiring for a career change is fantastic for the UK, as filling the considerable skills gap in the market will significantly enhance the economy, which is why the Open University have started their initiative.

Open University
© iStock/Pheelings Media

Identifying in-demand jobs

The entrepreneurs engaged in an online panel discussion to devise what they consider to be the most in-demand jobs of the future, hoping to provide direction and inspiration to the millions of people in the UK to continue to learn, reskill, and generate job opportunities.

The top in-demand jobs forecasted by the future trends predictor are:

  • Machine Learning Expert
  • Renewables Engineer
  • Cyber Security Penetration Tester
  • AI Developer
  • Blockchain Expert
  • Sustainability Officer
  • Data Analyst
  • AI Analytics Engineer
  • Data Protection Officer
  • Digital Content Strategist

The experts believe the roles with the greatest need in plugging the skills gap:

  1. Sustainability Officer
  2. AI Developer
  3. Digital Content Strategist
  4. Cyber Security Penetration Expert
  5. Renewables Engineer

The Open University aims to widen the access of its OpenLearn platform to people looking for a career change since the pandemic by partnering with Job Centre Plus and The Department for Work & Pensions. The ‘Open door to success’ partnership will enable people to find a job, advance their career or grow their business, and includes a free cybersecurity course from STEM. The course has now been completed by 300 people since the inception of the pandemic, with 150 going on to continue their studies or attaining employment in the sector.

Sam Warburton, OBE, said: “We need people who can analyse data and create content to reach a much wider audience than we would have done so organically. Digital content strategists and data analysts are invaluable and help businesses reach wider audiences.”

Priya Lakhani, OBE, said: “AI development and machine learning encompasses cybersecurity, and these roles will help maintain Britain as number three in the world before USA and China. UK entrepreneurs are begging you to upskill in these areas, so if you have any of those skills, go for it!”

Simon Tindall, Head of Skills and Innovation at The Open University, said: “What we’ve learned in the last year more than ever is that with change can come opportunity. Amidst the uncertainty of the current UK workforce and barriers to upskilling, we’re keen to highlight through this campaign that there are many ways to pursue new and exciting paths that range from free short courses to degree-level qualifications. While flexible working maybe a new trend, we’ve been experts in flexible learning for more than 50 years.”

“At The Open University, we’re passionate about dedicating our time to help you stay ahead of the curve. The jobs of the near future start today, and it’s easier to make the change than you think with flexible learning packages that can rapidly provide not just the skills you need but also instil confidence to pursue your goals. You can even study while in your current job and around other life commitments; it’s never been easier to shape the future of the UK’s economy and find your purpose in the next generation of in-demand jobs.”

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