Melissa Sterry, Expert Futurologist

#AI and #connectivity set to be the basis for the next 20 years of innovation - The UK needs to invest in #talent to implement these technological advances #FutureofWork

Self-driving cars are set to have a significant impact on society and change our future the most over the next 20 years, according to research from CWJobs, the leading tech job board.

The report, launched today (17 Dec), surveyed over 2,000 UK business decision makers and IT workers to determine the technological inventions with the greatest impact on society since 2000 and what’s to come in the next 20 years.

Just over a third (34%) of business decision makers stated they expect self-driving cars to be the innovation that will change our future the most in the next 20 years, with delivery drones (30%) and 5G (24%) also ranking highly.

However, surveying its candidate database, CWJobs found IT workers disagree – with over 46% believing quantum computing will impact society the most, ahead of self-driving cars (41%) and instant language translator earbuds (33%).

The world of tech stops for nobody and it’s set to accelerate even further over the next 20 years, impacting every part of our lives from consumers to businesses. What’s interesting to see is the different directions business leaders and IT workers think the industry is heading in, perhaps influenced by their backgrounds and prevalence of tech in their roles. It’s clear though that both see tech as a firm staple of life moving forward, of which there should be no doubt.

Top millennial tech

Working with tech every day, IT workers are perfectly placed to comment on the tech that’s had the biggest impact on society so far. The research revealed that over seven out of 10 workers (74%) thoroughly believe that the smartphone has been the most crucial invention over the past 20 years.

Additionally, the research found that workers regard Bluetooth technology as the most underappreciated invention (36%), closely followed by the USB flash drive (31%). The most surprising innovation since 2000 for IT workers came in the form of social media (37%), AI voice assistants (34%) and 3D printing (30%).

New jobs to match a new workforce

As the speed of innovation continues at pace, with it comes new and exciting job roles. Looking ahead to the next 20 years from a tech talent perspective, 42% of business decision makers believe that the “self-driving car mechanic” will be the new tech job role to emerge. Of the current roles available, cyber security engineers / analysts (35%) and AI / Machine learning designers, developers or engineers (35%) are expected to be the most important tech roles in the next two decades, ahead of software developers / engineers (26%) and mobile app developers (25%).

Interestingly, both business decision makers and IT workers, 68% and 71% respectively, believe that as significant advancements have occurred in areas like AI, blockchain and quantum computing, more people are developing the specialist tech skills needed to match the increased demand for these specific innovations.

Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs comments:

“Technology is now fully immersed in all aspects of our lives, both personally and professionally. With businesses facing growing pressure to integrate the latest consumer technologies into their companies, it’s vital they keep on top of the newest developments. More importantly though, it’s about ensuring their staff have the skills to develop and take advantage of the next generation of tech that’s set to impact our lives.”

What’s clear from these findings is that the underlying technology we’re seeing emerging today, like AI and connectivity, is set to be the basis for the next 20 years of innovation. In order to take advantage, the UK needs to have the talent available to implement and use these technologies effectively.

Fortunately, the UK workforce is adapting well with an influx of more diverse and qualified employees bringing in the skills needed to help the UK keep up. From a business perspective, tech firms increasingly recognise the need to help existing talent develop greater flexibility and scope for creativity, while also harnessing the capacity of specialised job boards and platforms to identify the right expertise in an array of fast-emerging fields.

Melissa Sterry, Expert Futurologist
About the Research: General population findings are sourced from research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of CWJobs to a sample of 1,002 UK business decision makers between 18th October and 24th October 2019.

   Tech jobs industry insights are sourced from research conducted with over 1,150 tech workers from CWJobs database between 23rd October and 28th October 2019.



About Melissa Sterry

A recipient of several international awards for innovation, creativity and enterprise, Melissa Sterry is a design scientist, systems theorist and futurist whose research and practice explores how emerging science, technology and thinking may help build a brighter future.

She has a PhD from Advanced Virtual and Technological Architecture Research group at University of Greenwich, and has contributed as a scientific committee member, peer-reviewer, and editorial board member to manifold leading international STEM, design, and arts journals, conferences, and societies. 

Holly Govey
DD: +44 (0)20 7025 6565

Red Consultancy places the highest priority on the security of personal data. We are Emailing you as we believe we have a legitimate business interest in doing so.
If you would prefer not to receive any emails from Red Consultancy please Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Our full data privacy policy is here
If you experience any issues with or have any questions about our handling of data then please Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Red Consultancy

Red supports Centrepoint to help young homeless people have a brighter future |

A Huntsworth plc company



This email message is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this email in error please contact the sender and destroy this message. We have taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this email has been swept for viruses, but we cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage sustained as a result of software viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus checks before opening any attachment. Please note as well that emails can be falsified: in circumstances where the content of this email is important you should not rely on its integrity without checking it by telephone or in writing.

The Red Consultancy Ltd is registered in England, Registration Number 2913684. Registered office is 8th Floor, Holborn Gate, 26 Southampton Buildings, London, WC2A 1AN

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page