Forward-Thinking Majors

by | Mar 10, 2020 | College Planning | 0 comments

What’s your major?

Recent estimates suggest that over five million jobs will be lost by 2020 due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, the following are the top 10 skills that employees will need to be competitive in the new economy:

  1. Complex Problem Solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People Management
  5. Coordinating with Others
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgment and Decision Making
  8. Service Orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive Flexibility

Of course, universities aren’t offering BA degrees in Emotional Intelligence or BS degrees in Cognitive Flexibility (yet), but there are many majors that develop and nurture these skills.  Many Humanities and Social Science degrees promote both critical thinking and soft skills. As automation overtakes many traditional jobs (production, transportation, data processing, manufacturing, etc.), there will be a greater need for people who can negotiate the impact of automation on human capital. In addition, data analysts and specialized sales representatives will be needed to interpret the flux of data available to companies and to sell consumers and partners on innovative products and systems. STEM majors are also a safe bet as robotics, engineering, and artificial intelligence will be the foundations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The healthcare field is also a relatively stable industry as is any industry that relies primarily on human interaction.  

As automation is inevitable, it would be best to steer away from careers that are likely to become obsolete in the face of the bot revolution.  Researchers predict that traditionally “safe” career choices like accounting and finance will fall by the wayside and new fields like vertical farming, personal brand management, and time brokerage will emerge.

When selecting a college major, keep in mind the shifting economic landscape and the rise of the machines.  If you can envision your job being done by a bot, chances are that will be the case.  The question isn’t a matter of if, but when.


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