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How is smart city technology affecting the job market?

Posted by: Lauren Cox 17 Feb 17  | Technology

Following on from our last post, what can we expect from smart home technology in 2017?, there’s no doubt that smart home technology is gaining momentum at a phenomenal pace.

It doesn’t just stop at home, with entire cities adopting innovative IoT solutions to create a sustainable environment across transportation, water supplies, agriculture; the list is endless and for good reason.

A report from Cisco Systems suggests that the world is being urbanised at a staggering rate of 10,000 people per hour! They believe that by 2050, more than 60% of the world's population will live in cities.

Ultimately, improving a city’s infrastructure to keep up with technological innovation is essential in order to maintain quality of life, manage its carbon footprint and to maintain its economic growth, and this movement is on the cusp of brilliance.

But how exactly is smart city technology, as a means of contributing to a low carbon economy, impacting the global job market? 

A report commissioned by The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has suggested that whilst it is difficult to determine the global market size and even more difficult to predict, smart city technology is expected to reach an estimated annual $408 billion worldwide by 2020.

The sheer scale of growth is incredible and is extensive across a variety of sectors; so surely that’s good news for the global economy?

Whilst it is difficult to predict exactly how many more jobs smart cities will bring, it is expected that IT infrastructure will be the “backbone” of the new wave of IoT and the smart city revolution will bring a number of opportunities for those with digital skills.

 Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, Chairman and CEO of the Internet of Things Talent Consortium, believes that the following job roles will be highly sought after over the coming years:

  1. Robotics specialist
  2. Cyber security analyst
  3. 3D print technician
  4. Virtual reality design
  5. Network programmer (SDN)
  6. Machine learning scientist
  7. Industrial network engineer
  8. Customer makers
  9. Neuro implant technician
  10.  Digital anthropologist
  11. Platform developer
  12. Business transformation practitioner
  13.  Cloud architect
  14. Data scientist
  15. Urban innovation/Urban mechanics

Right now however, we’re seeing a global digital skills gap, which is said to be costing the UK economy over £63billion a year alone. These digital skills will be fundamental to the widespread adoption of smart city technology. In fact, a smart city can only exist when it is able to attract the right talent to continually update the economic infrastructure through innovative processes.

Beliveau-Dunn states, "without the right talent, without helping the talent transform to help do these things, we will never get there. It will take everyone to be part of this to make it work.”

This is ultimately at the hand of the employers; from work environment and company culture, to training and opportunities – a strong employer and talent branding strategy will be crucial to hiring the most skilled and culturally suited employees over years to come.

So what about bridging the skills gap?

It is suggested that the culprit of a skills gap and lack of diversity within technology lies with age – by encouraging children to embrace technology and learn digital skills from a young age, this will inspire them to choose a tech based career path. Google, for instance, have implemented summer schools amongst their vast service offering in order to teach children the art of coding.

Could schools and universities implement more machine learning platforms to entice the younger generation?

We are excited to see what the  future of smart city technology will bring!


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