Ancient jobs that still exist today

Today, there are more than 3,000 occupations we can do. Jobs obviously evolve over time with the advance of technology and how we all live our lives. But there are many professions from tens of thousands of years ago that still exist today. From the origins of your favourite authors to the beginnings of why we eat what we do, we take a look at some of the jobs that have stayed the test of time.

Two people baking


We all like a good story. From losing ourselves in a good book to the idle gossip over Whatsapp. Experts say humans started to communicate using modern language around 200,000 years ago – and the passing of information and stories followed soon after. Back then, it would have been through word of mouth – but now our world has many ways of telling stories, especially online. From writing books and newspapers to producing blogs and vlogs, the art of storytelling will never go away. That’s why our own platform is based on a conversational chat rather than some boring tick box exercise.


Evidence shows that humans started to wear clothes at least 83,000 years ago. Early clothing was fairly simple, and usually worn by people to keep warm. But times changed and as skills progressed, designers, dressmakers, tailors, manufacturers, and patternmakers are still making us look good today. You’ll need a good eye for detail, a heavy dose of creativity and usually some good sewing skills.


People started cultivating crops around 13,000 years ago. As the population grew, agriculture did too, and we’ve always had farmers producing things for us to eat. Nowadays, it’s usually a family business that gets passed down, but many people go into the profession fresh each year. And it doesn’t stop there – the work done by farmers has spawned hundreds of other types of jobs. For example, milk production is now used to produce protein powders in the health food industry and biodegradable plastics.


The Skillzminer team love a good pasty. As quick as farmers grow crops, bakers turn them into delicious food for us all to consume. Yum Yums and doughnuts might not have been around back then, but the ancient Egyptians were shown to be kneading dough and baking loaves back in their day so we know the profession has been around for thousands of years. Nowadays, you’ll see bakers on almost every high street or their products packed onto supermarket shelves. You’ll need to be good with your hands, have a good knowledge of maths and usually work well in teams.


Where would be if we didn’t have buildings? People used to simply build their own homes. But as society developed, people recognised the specific skills set needed. With the population growth showing no sign of slowing down, builders are always in demand to create homes for us to live in, buildings to work in, ships to sail in and all the infrastructure that comes with them. You’ll need good coordination skills, an eye for detail and be great at multi-tasking.


You’re probably reading this sat on a sofa, at a desk or even in bed. All those things will have been manufactured by talented craftspeople. These items have been around for years, just in different guises. Many people living in ancient Egypt were carpenters, specialising in building tomb-related items through excellent handcraft. Although many objects are now manufactured using technology, the art of carpentry has never gone away with the profession still being a popular Apprenticeship route.


A tradesperson is nothing without their tools – and they need someone to make them. This is one of the oldest professions in the world. Experts believe humans started making tools about 2.6 million years ago, using chunks of rock. As long as tradespeople are still needed, so will tools.


Imagine life without music. Imagine how dull it would be. Music is proven to bring people together, relieve stress, be good for mental health and helps children to develop. Scientists say that music originated about 50,000 years ago, most likely through an early variation of singing. The earliest instruments are around 42,000 years old. As the entertainment industry thrives, the occupation is always a sought-after one with top performers earning lots of money. Successful musicians tend to need creativity, motivation, determination and perseverance.


They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, one person’s art could be another person’s trash. People appreciate art in a variety of forms. The oldest painting is believed to be around 67,000 years old. Alongside the talent, you’ll also need self-belief and commitment.


Unfortunately, crimes have always existed. The role of a judge used to be handed down from father to son. Now, rightly, the role requires more qualification and experience, with most judges being lawyers. In addition, you’ll need resilience, formidable communication skills, attention to detail and an ability to process complex situations.


People have always been protective of their land, their people and the things they own. Organised fighters first joined forces to create an army around 6,000 years ago. Now, almost every nation has an army, with an estimated 27 million people being employed as armed forces personnel across the world. You’ll need commitment, a good level of physical fitness, the ability to work calmly under pressure and very good communication skills

Skills are everywhere. We hone them all the time. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing it. So, the next time you think you don’t have any skills, think about all the things you do throughout the day. These skills make us who we are. Once we identify these skills, we can find suitable roles that sometimes don’t even feel like jobs. And that’s when the real magic happens. We start to innovate and bring new ideas to the table to help take the roles forward just like our predecessors did thousands of years ago.

Try Skillzminer today to unearth your true potential.