BAE Systems predicts top manufacturing job roles in 2040

BAE Systems futurism careers
BAE Systems futurism careers

Emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics will influence the careers of the future.

In a recent study BAE Systems found that almost half of young people (47%) aged between 16-24 believe that one day they will work in a role that doesn’t exist yet, but only 18% think they are equipped with the skills required to future-proof their careers. 74% feel that they are not getting enough information about careers that will be available in the future.

The study also revealed that 70% of young people want more guidance on the skills that will be in demand in the next 20 years to help make informed decisions on further education and careers.

In response to these findings, BAE’s futurists and technologists have predicted the top job roles likely to exist by the year 2040 and the areas of study that students should pursue to equip them with relevant skills.

AI, VR and Robotics are all emerging technologies identified as fields for some of the top careers of the future, with Robotics, Graphic Design and Philosophy named as some of the most useful subjects to study to gain relevant skills to future-proof your career.

Jobs of the future identified by BAE include:


As organisations increasingly turn to robotic automation, robots will take more of a ‘one size fits all’ form that equips them to take on a number of different tasks. As human and robotic working becomes more intertwined, an auto-advisor will provide advice to companies on where robotic automation can be applied, ensure the automated workforce is in line with official guidelines and identify opportunities for upgrades to be as effective as possible working alongside humans.

Areas of study: Robotics; Mechanical Engineering and Physics.

VR architect

As platforms used for aviation, on the ground or at sea become more complex, digital twins could be created so AI modelling can be used to accurately predict which of the parts need maintenance remotely. VR architects will be responsible for using virtual and augmented reality to map and monitor the lifespan of the component parts within the vehicle so can be managed as effectively and safely as possible.

Areas of study: Graphic Design and Information Technology (IT).

AI ethicist

As AI is trusted to make more complex decisions, it will become essential that it is programmed, deployed and maintained responsibly. An AI ethicist’s role will be to ensure that AI is underpinned by robust ethics, does not display biases and does not deviate from serving the needs of an organisation.

Areas of study: Philosophy; History and Maths.

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Systems farmer

Technologists are on the verge of a revolution in synthetic biology and chemical engineering in production where we can expect to be ‘growing’ macroscale multi-function aircraft parts for example, with desirable nanoscale features. Known as ‘chemputing’, these component parts can sense, process and harvest energy while also being super strong - and perhaps even able to self-repair.

Areas of study: Chemistry; Biology and Chemical Engineering.

Human e-sources manager

A human e-sources manager would use performance-based wearables or e-textiles to measure data such as cognitive workload, wellbeing and output on an ongoing basis. They might be the first to identify an employee is becoming ill or respond to other medical indicators to offer occupational support or additional training to deal with potential stressful situations.

Areas of study: Psychology, Biology, Medical Sciences.

AI translator

As human and robotic working or ‘cobotics’ becomes more intertwined, the AI translator will be responsible for training both the human and the AI assistant, helping them develop an effective ‘teaming’ relationship. This will involve tuning the AI assistant, tailoring it to the human worker’s personalised needs – while also watching out for and correcting any machine or human errors.

Areas of study: Cybersecurity; IT and Mechanical Engineering

BAE Systems


BAE Systems

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