Which drivers of change will affect their skills?
Science and engineering is a broad umbrella term for multiple fields and disciplines such as life sciences, computer science, automobile engineering . Therefore, workers in this occupational group may be affected by very different drivers or the same drivers may affect their jobs and skills in distinctive ways. As construction is the most significant employer for this occupational group, developments in the sector will have a weighted prominence.
Technological advancements introduce new ways of planning and building in construction of infrastructure. Workers employed in this sector will subsequently need to have pertinent skills, as will science and engineering professionals
. It goes without saying that technology already impacts all sectors and thus jobs across the economy. Particularly for these workers, advancements in tools, machines and processes in manufacturing will not only revisit their must-have skills, but also increase the risk of replacement due to automation. At the same time, if manufacturing that uses 3D printing takes off, smaller units carrying out specialised jobs may come into existence, influencing jobs and labour demand in ancillary industry sectors that provide specialised capabilities and services connected to manufacturing. In the long-term, more specialised skills with technical proficiency across multiple industry segments where manufacturing capabilities play a part are also likely to be in demand. The same applies to a wide range of other occupations within science and engineering associate professionals, from geology technicians who may be employed in mining or building construction, where innovations such as higher-definition surveying and geolocation 
are expected to soon change the game; to air traffic safety technicians.
“3D printing, resource-efficient sustainable production and robotics are all seen as strong drivers of employment growth […], in light of a continued and fast-growing need for skilled technicians and specialists to create and manage advanced and automated production systems.”
The Future of Jobs, World Economic Forum, 2016
Increased demand for interoperability, globalisation, and growth in smart devices could lead to exponential growth in standardisation activity  
. There is already increased activity on standards in relation to 5G 
, the internet of things 
, 3D printing, and autonomous vehicles. This trend is expected to lead to increased demand for science and engineering associates who work on technical and operational specifications of products in multiple industry sectors. This growth in standards and patents is likely to continue and result in increased demand for science and engineering associates in professions related to standardization activities. Due to increased standardisation, some of the more specialised technical and operational positions may be lost as some of the existing practices and standards become obsolete.
Concerns over climate change reshape the focus of several sectors and thus occupations. Relevant to these associate professionals, the 2016 Paris Agreement is expected to lead to increased emphasis on reducing global carbon emissions, and implementation of the commitment from developed and developing countries to reduce carbon emissions 
. This target is likely to see increased public sector funding and growth in jobs related to deploying, operationalising, and maintaining clean energy projects 
. As the prices for commercialising renewable energy fall, increased private sector investment in clean energy is likely and could be a key driver of jobs in a range of technical occupations.
Growing demand for environmentally sensitive construction and energy efficient buildings can secure resources and support vulnerable citizens who suffer from energy poverty 
. By default, traditional practices (and thus skills to implement these practices) are already under change 
Due to continuing difficulties in the economic climate, public sector investment and funding of academia-led primary research is likely to remain under pressure. Although certain sectors of the industry such as life sciences and computer sciences 
continue to invest in research, this is likely to be in applied research. The continued pressure on public sector finances is likely to pose a challenge for basic research in science and engineering alike. As a reflection of this trend, the technical and operational roles (handled by those with medium qualifications) are expected to see mild decline.
Risk of automation: As a part of its Digitalisation and future of work project
, Cedefop estimates the risks of automation
for occupations. The most exposed occupations are those with significant share of tasks that can be automated – operation of specialised technical equipment, routine or non-autonomous tasks – and those with a small reliance on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and customer-serving skills. The risk of automation is further accentuated in occupations where employees report little access to professional training that could help them to cope with labour market changes. Science and engineering technicians are reportedly an occupation with low risk of automation.