How will the future of travel shape employment patterns?

It’s a paradox of our time, that education can’t seem to keep pace with changes in the professional landscape - particularly if you work in the travel industry...

Even as fresh-faced workers are prepared and sent out into the world, skills change and new requirements are needed from employers. Forecasting these changes can become a full-time job in itself, as everyone tries to figure out what skills will be in demand a few years down the line. The good news is, for all the talk of tech experience being the gold standard (and it’s still top-notch to have), travel is developing in ways that will also require a host of other skills.

So what jobs will the travel indsutry be creating a demand for in the years to come?

Construction workers.

With a surge in more tech-integrated materials, construction is already undergoing a massive shift; unfortunately, the skills of traditional workers aren’t necessarily going to be sufficient to meet demand. Construction teams that can handle the transport, assembly, and maintenance of materials such as insulated concrete forms, bioplastics, and electrically conductive printable gels are going to be the future of the industry.

Air traffic managers.

Our skies are set to get a whole lot busier over the next decade with the rise of civilian drone use, as well as private companies like Amazon and Google touting drones as the answer to all our delivery needs. On top of this, the conceptualisation of public modes of transport such as the hyperloop and skyTran, people and goods are moving in a whole new way, often in three-dimensional spaces (as opposed to road and water traffic, that flows in two dimensions). Those who can analyse traffic patterns and foresee jams, as well as manage teams of operators on the ground, will be in high demand. 

User experience experts.

Roles already exist in the digital world for people who can frame up information architecture and coding - but those with experience in psychology and game theory will be more valuable as the science behind UX becomes more nuanced.

Now, it’s not just about why a user moves through a digital experience in a particular pattern, but how the web host can influence those choices in the moment, and how the website or app itself can move from being a static entity to one that is dynamic, adjusting along with the individual user’s needs. The rise of augmented reality will play a key role in driving change in this area.

Keiichi Matsuda, Augmented (hyper)Reality

Sub-orbital shipping experts.

The next wave in civilian transport is already here, thanks to Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital launch programme. However, as this technology becomes less expensive, and is used in concert with miniaturised satellites, the possibilities for the shipping industry will explode. Professionals with an integrated knowledge of both materials transport and space travel will be highly sought-after, particularly if these teams combine their knowledge with the tech-materials knowledge of the next wave of construction workers.

Natural disaster forecasters and efficiency analysts.

Even small environmental events, such as London’s December 2010 snowfall, have the potential to whack the entire stretched and delicate global infrastructure out of balance. Environmental forecasters will need to work in concert with, or even become, efficiency analysts in order to identify the effect of weather on the travel industry - and try to ameliorate it - before it even happens. These efficiency experts will need to be people with analytical experience beyond your basic management degree - economists, say, or engineers and mathematicians. 

What do you think the next in-demand roles will be in the travel industry? Are we ready to meet the challenge?

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail image from gettyimages.

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