The workplace is about to change drastically, writes Catherine Armitage.
IN THE future your children and their children will be doing jobs we can scarcely imagine now. Their titles will be as wacky to us as ''software developer'' must once have been to a baby boomer. Try making sense of a ''virtchandise manager'', an ''outcome aggregator'', a ''data evangelist'' or even a ''sensemaking analyst'', for starters.
Web designer? So last century. Computer whiz? You must be kidding. Information technology is now so integral to work that the very concept of ''working in IT'' or ''working in computers'' is outdated.
The new world of work is fast-moving and unpredictable but it's at least certain the future has lower carbs, both in diets, and in the air. The rising-star sectors of the jobs market in the short to medium term - aged care, healthcare, storage and logistics, and renewable energy - reflect big societal shifts to an older population and a greener, more personalised economy.
Our current offices will soon be a thing of the past.
Our current offices will soon be a thing of the past. Photo: Virginia Star
A quick scan of the online recruitment sites confirms the future is already here. New jobs are spawning faster than we have language to describe them. Firms are looking for ''cloud transformation officers'' to shift their data storage off site into the cyberspace ''cloud''.
Standard job titles are getting so complex - at least three words is de rigueur - that the personal brand-focused Facebook generation is abandoning convention for something more catchy.
London business card printer Moo.com recently made an online splash by outing the attention-grabbing title tactics of these 21st century metrosexual knowledge workers. Expect any time soon to have your hand shaken by a sales ninja, a new media guru, a digital dynamo or perhaps even a happiness advocate.
There are new jobs to be had in organising, managing, stimulating, expanding and activating the online communities gathering around websites, says Mandy Solomon, a senior researcher at the Smart Services CRC, Swinburne University of Technology. ''We are only just beginning to see the tip of that.'' But what to call them? Online community facilitator (OCF)? Or web funster, perhaps?
Steve Ogden-Barnes, a retail industry fellow in the Deakin University Graduate School of Business, believes the days when retailers buy in stock to sit in their stores until someone (hopefully) buys it are numbered.
Instead customers will check out merchandise on 2D, 3D, or even 4D browsers, not necessarily in-store. The recent advent of pop-up shopping billboards by Sportsgirl and Woolworths, which allow buyers to order by scanning images of the products they want into their mobile devices, points the way ahead. Goodbye, merchandise managers, hello virtchandise managers, he suggests.
A 2010 analysis by Skills Australia predicted job growth in warehousing and storage services at around three times the national average through to 2025, whether the economy is relatively open to international trade, or relatively closed. Jobs in storage are expected to average 6.5 per cent growth a year, followed by community services (4 per cent), services to finance/insurance (3.7 per cent) and water transport (3 per cent).
They're ''frantically preoccupied trying to imagine the future'' at Deloitte Consulting as a service to business clients, says Lisa Barry, head of the firm's human capital practice.
Ageing and healthcare are ''a hotbed of new jobs'', she says, but data may be even hotter. In fact, ''the single most likely area where jobs will be''. Data mining, data storage and predictive analytics - systematically scanning data collected by businesses in the ordinary course of their work for patterns that predict customers' needs - are huge growth areas.
When the Australian Bureau of Statistics revised its job categories in 2009 after a 13-year gap, it came up with more than 150 new occupational groups, most of them in IT, health and sport. For example, the old ''computing support technician'' was replaced by eight new categories, among them web administrator and telecommunications network planner.
But ''even now (after only three years) it is probably out of date'', says Andrew Woolley, who led the project for the ABS. Among the new health occupation categories were homeopath, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and diversional therapist.
smh.com au