Prepare for the working future

2004

People starting work in 20 years' time are predicted to find many of today's jobs have disappeared and might have to change career up to 19 times during their lifetime.

This uncertain vision of the working future emerges from a report commissioned by the UK the jobs training and qualifications body City and Guilds.

The average working life will span 50 years as people live longer, it predicts, with many having to work long into today’s retirement age to make up for inadequate pension provision.

Many professionals will also need to hold down two jobs at once to make ends meet, while it is estimated that the number of employees planning to change careers will double by the year 2025 to five million.

Jobs such as postal workers, milkmen and estate agents might disappear altogether, the report predicts, leaving many with no choice but to start an entirely new career.

As a result, keeping up-to-date with new skills will be crucial to keeping in work.

Chris Humphries, director general at City & Guilds, said that a job for life has long gone. “In the future it will be commonplace for a professional such as an architect to hold down a job as, say, a chef, at the same time".

"This won't be considered as moonlighting but simply pursuing two careers simultaneously."

In future, he added, employers would be looking for employees with strong transferable skills rather than experience in a particular sector.