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Atlas of Emerging Jobs: Future Literacy for Young People

Alexandra Zinovyeva

Accelerating changes in industry, economy, and society caused by technological developments, especially in ICT, and the growing complexity of global markets and management systems raise challenging questions for every economy. One of the most thrilling is what the future of work will look like. We see lots of schools in Russia lacking 21-century skills training, many universities offering outdated study programs, the majority of young people and their parents having a biased vision of what resilient career path may look like. What we also see is the growing importance of future-oriented thinking as a crucial skill for everyone, and a conceptual transition from ‘choosing a career’ towards ‘constructing a career’. To answer these challenges, in 2014, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and SKOLKOVO business school introduced the first version of the Atlas of Emerging Jobs.

Figure 1. Atlas of emerging Jobs 3.0

Today, the Atlas of Emerging Jobs (further the Atlas) is an almanac of prospective economy sectors and jobs for the coming 15 to 20 years. The Atlas aims to help people find out which industries will intensively grow, what new technologies, products, and management practices will emerge, and what new types of specialists will be in demand. In 2020, we introduced the third edition of the Atlas, in which one will find:

  • A vision of the future 28 economy sectors;
  • 350+ new professions;
  • Soft skills necessary for building a successful career and tips on how to develop them.


In 2012, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives and SKOLKOVO business school in Moscow united over 2,500 Russian and global experts in massive research ‘Skills Foresight 2030’. The goal of the research was to identify jobs that would be in high demand in 19 sectors of the Russian economy. The experts discussed technological changes and socioeconomic processes influencing the structure of practical tasks and built future state maps for industries to identify the demand for new competencies and build a shared vision of new jobs. We compiled the key findings of the research into the Atlas, a career-guidance tool for the coming future. The current version features an extended selection of 28 economy sectors and is addressed to high school students.

The method behind the Atlas

The Atlas was devised from the results of numerous Skills Technology Foresight (STF) sessions. STF is a qualitative method that bridges skills anticipation approaches and technology foresight. It allows us to identify future skills needs in the context of technological innovation or the proliferation of existing technology through modernization. STF has the maximum efficiency in sectors with high potential for changes because of new technologies implementation.

The STF was created as a result of collaborative work and was launched in 2011 by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives. In 2014, the method was verified by the International Labor Organization and was used to identify future skills needs in Vietnam, Armenia, Tunisia, and Tanzania.

STF as a forecasting method is based on three key principles:

  • The future depends on our efforts, which means it can be molded;
  • The future is variable: it does not arise from the past but depends on the decisions made by participants and stakeholders at present;
  • Some things can be predicted but, on the whole, the future cannot be foretold with complete accuracy. We can either prepare ourselves for a future that we want to see or prepare for that future for ourselves.

The recent version of the Atlas is based on more than 50 foresight sessions held in Russia and around the world and involved about 4000 participants what let us consider the result valid. 

We have conducted foresight for both state authorities as well as large private organizations and companies in Russia (Sberbank, Yandex, ROSSETI, SKOLKOVO, etc.). We do our best to inform a broader audience about the opportunities of the coming future by giving public presentations during large educational events. The Atlas was recommended as a career guidance tool for schools and is currently actively used by teachers throughout the country (from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and Yakutsk). Some universities, such as Sechenov University and Kaluga State University,  are considering the transformation of their existing study programs so that they are more consistent with the forecasts of the Atlas. We also created a kit of career guidance instruments for teachers, including the resource book, 4 games, and 22 lesson plans.

In 2018, we started creating regional versions of the Atlas, so that Russian regions could think of building their own future image to offer their young people. As we also consider the Atlas a global initiative, it was presented to experts in many countries. In August 2019, as part of the world championship on professional skills Worldskills Kazan 2019, the competitions on several competencies described in the Atlas were held. In January 2019, we ran the Atlas Foresight School in Astana   (Nur-Sultan at present), Kazakhstan for the BTS Education specialists. Nowadays there are qualified STF moderators who plan to create the Kazakhstan Atlas of Emerging Jobs.

Future plans

Thinking about the future of the Atlas we further plan international development, running negotiations with Kyrgyzstan and South Africa about starting foresight schools and creating local versions of the Atlas. We also plan to develop ‘an adult version’ of the Atlas to help people of 40+ years old find themselves in the future labor market. We are also going to develop Atlas 4.0 as an online-platform, where visioners, industries, universities, and TVET will be able to collaborate and identify near- and mid-future (5-15 years) occupations, helping people mindfully build their career strategies.

Author: Dmitry Sudakov, Head of the Atlas of Emerging Jobs, email: [email protected]

Picture credit: Atlas of Emerging Jobs, Skolkovo

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