When it comes to the future of your industry, how secure do you feel, not only in your position, but in your career and abilities as well? The era in which you go to school for a specific skill or trade, develop your acumen, and grow a career until retirement has passed. The future of your career doesn’t depend on whether employment is available at a given company; it depends on how employable you are. This requires constant learning to be proactive in refining the skills you have to fit the market in its current state, as well as its ever-changing demands.
As the Three Digital Accelerators (bandwidth, computing power, and storage) continuously grow, new positions emerge in the tech sector, and traditional jobs get overhauled. This means the skills required to do these jobs change, and it’s up to both employees and employers to keep up with these trends.
If your job description isn’t already changing, it probably will in the near future. You can’t afford to stand still in your career like generations past. You can’t simply coast along and not pursue more training or a better education tailored to the skills you’ll find yourself needing.
Many unemployed or underemployed individuals are still having difficulty landing jobs. Even working professionals looking to make a move, whether lateral or upward, are finding difficulty in locating open positions suited to their particular abilities. But blaming the economy is now a misperception: in our ever-shifting economic landscape and technological evolution, many once-common jobs are disappearing. Simultaneously, new roles are opening up, but companies are experiencing difficulty filling these positions.
Even many traditional roles, such as medical technicians, machinists, construction workers, or even nurses, are harder to fill because of a lack of up-to-date skills. These are relatively common jobs in our economic landscape; they shouldn’t be too difficult to fill. However, most of these jobs call for developed, nuanced skills that can grow in lockstep with our technologically advancing economy. But it’s starting to look like many professionals aren’t keeping up with the evolving skill demands of their industries.
In addition to these more traditional jobs being difficult to fill, a slew of new roles and professions are offering untapped potential for workers with the right technical knowledge. In the tech sector, the ability to negotiate and manipulate data to extract actionable knowledge has become invaluable. Freelancer, an online outsourcing platform, claims data scientists are in high demand, along with people experienced in the eCommerce arena and the ever-increasing advent of wearable tech.
This disconnect between talent, necessary skill, and employment doesn’t hinge entirely on employees. Many employers are having trouble addressing what’s now being viewed as a serious talent shortage. These employers are failing to meet the changing needs of the economy, especially with respect to teaching new skills to new hires. Even when applicants have the required skill sets, many are looking for higher starting salaries than most talent-strapped companies are willing to offer.
According to the results of a Talent Shortage Survey from ManpowerGroup, 45% of employers globally claim that they can’t find the skills they need. This is up from 40% in 2017 and is the highest it has been in over a decade. The ones most affected by the shortage are large companies of 250 or more employees.
ManpowerGroup suggests employers overhaul best practices when it comes to recruiting, like redefining qualifying criteria and conveying the image of their organizations as a destination for valued talent with a culture of learning and employee encouragement.
For both employees and employers, education is key. Prospective employees need to be more anticipatory and pay attention to the Hard Trends shaping the future of their industries while continuously augmenting their skill sets in order to remain employable. By studying the Hard Trends I’ve outlined, career-minded individuals will predict what sorts of skills they’ll need to develop and where opportunity for employment may lie.
As for employers facing a talent shortage, they need to develop new recruiting methods and be willing to provide necessary additional training to new hires. From both sides, it’s clear that the most important aspect of this talent and employment shortage is the pursuit of modernized knowledge.
What are you doing to stay ahead of the curve in your industry? How are you growing your career by being anticipatory? Just how employable are you, given the transformational changes that are yet to come?
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.