What are the best careers in 2020?

January 27, 2020

The workforce landscape of the new decade is changing — and it’s changing fast.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs report, 75 million jobs could be displaced by machines and algorithms between 2018 and 2022.

This stat is surely alarming for workers, but luckily, that’s just one side of the story. The same report also revealed 133 million new jobs are expected to emerge during the same time period. This imminent spike in new positions means workers will need to cultivate entirely new skill sets in order to secure the best careers.

In fact, the Future of Jobs report predicts that by 2022, 42% of required workplace skills will have changed. While technological competency will be a major asset for workers pursuing the best career options in the new decade, the value of distinctly “human” skills cannot be overlooked.

For human relations professionals, it’s imperative to know exactly what skills to be looking for from prospective employees.

Here are the top 10 best careers for 2020, according to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report:

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialists

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi film, but it’s true — artificial intelligence and machine learning professionals are set to see huge increases in hiring.

According to LinkedIn, hiring growth for titles related to machine learning and AI has increased 74% annually over the past four years.

And AI professionals aren’t limited to the software and information technology sectors. LinkedIn reports massive growth in recent years for AI workers in the fields of education, hardware and networking, finance, and manufacturing, just to name a few.

With a wide range of applications across a variety of industries, AI professionals are sure to be in high demand in 2020 and beyond.

2. Robotics Engineer

Want proof that robotics is on the rise? Look no further than New York-based UiPath.

Founded in Bucharest, Romania by a former Microsoft employee, UiPath — whose software automates data input related to accounting and insurance claims — was recently valued at $7 billion.

With companies like UiPath coming into prominence, it’s no surprise that demand for robotic engineers is increasing rapidly. LinkedIn reports 40% annual growth in the robotics engineering field overall.

Not only are these jobs relevant to software development, but there’s a myriad of jobs related to hardware as well.

3. Data Scientist

The data scientist role has made the top of LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs list for three consecutive years now. Interestingly enough, these jobs aren’t entirely new, but instead often serve to enhance more traditional roles such as statisticians and academic researchers.

LinkedIn reports 37% annual growth for data scientist roles.

4. Full Stack Engineer

The job might not be new, but with continued hiring growth it remains one of the best career options in 2020. Full stack engineers are comfortable working with a range of programming languages (e.g., React.js, Node.js, JavaScript, and CSS) and can land in industries including computer software, financial services, and even higher education. LinkedIn reports 35% annual growth for full stack engineering jobs since 2015.

5. Site Reliability Engineer

We often take for granted that everything will be running smoothly when we reach for our phone to launch our favorite app in the morning. But who do you think makes sure this is the case? Site reliability engineers are tasked with ensuring that the development and operation processes of our favorite software are working as they should.

As LinkedIn put it, “The demand for this job will likely continue to rise as long as we’re using technology in our day-to-day lives.”

That seems to be a safe bet.

6. Customer Success Specialist

What’s technology without people?

While tech seems to dominate LinkedIn’s list, it’s important to keep in mind that technical roles are creating demand for customer-facing roles as well.

An earlier LinkedIn report revealed that in 2018, the number of LinkedIn job posts for customer success manager roles increased 34% in the United States — with an astounding 72% of workers in that role being in the software and information technology industry.

7. Sales Development Representative

Customer success specialist isn’t the only customer-facing role to make LinkedIn’s list.

Sales development representatives (SDRs) are seeing continued hiring growth, with the job landing on LinkedIn’s list for yet another year.

SDRs make use of cold-calling, lead generation, and Salesforce expertise to drive revenue to tech and other companies.

8. Data Engineer

The term “data” seems to be ubiquitous across a variety of industries in 2020.

Data engineers make use of skills such as Apache Spark, Python, and Amazon Web Services in industries including information technology and services, financial services, and hospital and healthcare.

LinkedIn reports 33% annual hiring growth among data engineers since 2015.

9. Behavioral Health Technician

In the healthcare field, the behavioral health technician role looks to be one of the best careers in 2020.

LinkedIn credits expanded health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse rehabilitation as a likely cause for the heightened demand.

And since behavioral health doesn’t require a specific degree to break into the field, roles are open to professionals from a range of different backgrounds.

10. Cybersecurity Specialist

In the increasingly digital world, protecting our personal information is always a top priority.

A 2019 report by Risk Based Security said the amount of data breaches that occurred during the first half of the year represented a 54% year-over-year increase.

With our precious data at risk, it’s no wonder that LinkedIn reports 30% annual growth for cybersecurity specialist hiring.

The demand for all of the above jobs is projected to grow rapidly, but there’s one thing these jobs don’t have in common — their compensation.

Want to get up to speed on pay levels for these top careers in 2020? Mercer has created the New and Fast Moving Jobs Survey to help HR professionals stay in the know.

You’ll get the data you need whether you’re looking to adjust compensation calculations for high-growth jobs, bolster your tech recruiting efforts, or simply keep up with the current trends.

The New and Fast Moving Jobs Survey includes data on base pay, short-term incentives, long-term incentive eligibility, and receivership on some of the fastest growing positions.




Data Scientist/Big Data Mining is just one of the fields for which Mercer’s 2019 New and Fast Moving Jobs Survey offers compensation data


Check out Mercer’s Knowledge Library for additional resources, such as compensation planning, benefits, policies and practices, and more.

Want to see all 15 of LinkedIn’s top careers for 2020? Download the free PDF.