The Skills Imperative 2035: Occupational Outlook – Long run employment prospects for the UK

Rob Wilson, Derek Bosworth, Luke Bosworth, Jeisson Cardenas-Rubio, Rosie Day, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick; Shyamoli Patel, Ha Bui, Xinru Lin, Daniel Seymour, Chris Thoung, Cambridge Econometrics; Jude Hillary, NFER

13 October 2022

This suite of reports is the second to be published by The Skills Imperative 2035: Essential skills for tomorrow’s workforce research programme, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The aim of the overall research programme is to identify the essential employment skills that people will need for work by 2035. These reports provide detailed estimates of the shape and composition of the future labour market.

This suite of reports relies on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) up to 2021. Unfortunately, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced in 2022 they had made coding errors in the LFS. Working paper 2d explains this issue and the impact on our employment projections, which is fortunately limited. Revised tables and figures from Working papers 2-2c are provided in ‘Occupational Outlook - Long-run employment prospects for the UK – Revised tables and figures’ below:

Key Findings

The economy is changing slowly, but steadily and inexorably in favour of the service sector. By 2035, the structure of the labour market will have changed substantially. This is true across the range of possible future labour market projections we have considered. These projections imply significant changes in the skills required to succeed in the future labour market of 2035.

The key findings include:

  • There are projected to be 2.6 million new jobs by 2035, the majority of which will be taken by women, reflecting the increasing participation of women in the labour market. The projections also show that jobs most vulnerable to automation are currently mainly held by men.
  • The adoption of new technologies in the labour market are projected to lead to around two million jobs being displaced. However, there will be plenty of new opportunities too, which will offset these losses, in particular in higher skilled jobs and healthcare roles.
  • Employment in the health sector is expected to increase the fastest, with around 369,000 new jobs by 2035.
  • Most of the new jobs created by 2035 will be in professional and associate professional occupations.