By Brian Walker
CEO, Retail Doctor Group 

Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future. Niels Bohr

What will be the future job skills required in 2030 in the world of AI/Metaverse/Predictive Data Modelling?

If you’re thinking retail head office or support needs of the business – cast away those ideas and contemplate the retail lab of the future.

What will the retail organisation of the future look like?

By 2030, over one-third of jobs in retail will be affected directly or indirectly by technology. This number will increase significantly to over 50% as we fast forward to 2050. In fact, one example is the growing demand for data experts. For four years in a row, data scientist has been named the number one job in the U.S. by Glassdoor. What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that the demand for data science skills will drive a 27.9 percent rise in employment through 2026.

It’s Monday morning sometime in the future, and you’ve called your weekly team meeting in the “metaverse”. Your team may well look like something like the following and certainly bear little resemblance to the team of today, with your robotic assistant coordinating all activities.

  • The core of your retail team will be Software and Applications Programmers and Managers. The role of Software and Applications Programmers grew very strongly over the last five years. An impressive 16,000 new jobs a year are expected to open up in this role alone. We have already known that coders are and will be a vital part of our retail organisation of the present and future.
  • Metaverse Event Director: Metaverse Event Directors would be responsible for managing, organizing, and directing a project from start to finish in the metaverse. This does not necessitate technical capabilities, but it does place a premium on interpersonal and organisational abilities.
  • Virtual Reality Fashion Designers(for an apparel-based or similar type of business): Virtual Reality Fashion Designers are in charge of developing unique clothing and accessories for individual avatars. The job requires animation abilities as well as an understanding of fashion and art. Coupled with the rise in popularity of fashion and art NFTs, this profession is already gaining pace.
  • Digital Tailors: Digital Tailors will be visiting future retail customers in the comfort of their own homes, using digital assessments to perfect the fitting and finish of their orders.
  • Virtual Store Sherpa: Virtual Store Sherpa will focus on customer satisfaction through virtually advising customers using product range knowledge.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) Journey Builder: AR Journey Builder will help design, write, create, calibrate, gamify, build and, most importantly, personalise the next generation of mind-blowing stories for the customer journey in AR.
  • Smart Contract Lawyers: Transactions in the Metaverse are conducted using codes and algorithms, creating a new legal structure outside the standard legal framework. This position requires an understanding of the law, protocols, and the operation of blockchain technology.
  • Data Scientists: Data scientists will need to be able to analyse a large amount of complex and raw information to find patterns that will benefit an organization and help drive strategic business decisions. Compared to data analysts, data scientists are much more technical.
  • Data Detectives: They are in charge of investigating organisational data across a company, generating business answers and recommendations based on examining information from a variety of sources.
  • Cyber Retail Analysts: They ensure the steady flow of “healthy” data around cities including biodata, citizen data, and asset data, making sure all technical and transmission equipment functions without being compromised.

And what about the concept of work itself?

According to independent studies published by CBRE and Genesis, and a report in WSJ, the workplace in 2030 will be very different from the one seen today. Here is a glimpse of how work in 2030 could look like (with additional thanks to Nikki Duggall):

  • Flexible Floor Plans: When workers arrive at their office building, wearable devices will let them know what floor to go to, which can be changed based on data from sensors.
  • Goodbye, Desk: There won’t be any physical desks; employees will just park themselves anywhere and have a simulated office before their eyes.
  • Your Robot Assistant: Workers at all levels will be using robotic helpers in the future like Siri or Alexa, to sort through incoming emails, schedule meetings, create spreadsheets, etc.
  • The Virtual Water Cooler: Informal get-togethers will take place via virtual and augmented reality headsets.

And somewhere herein lies the future reality (well at least one of the realities). This future will arrive sooner than expected given that the way we work has shifted dramatically over the last two years due to the pandemic. It has never been more critical for retailers to be on the lookout for new changes and upskill their workforce when the time comes.

If you’re keen to explore how best to prepare your workforce in the face of today’s rapidly changing landscape, visit our Training page for more information.