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How The Future Of Jobs Is Changing, And The Skills Needed To Thrive

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As technologies advance, it can be easy to worry about future employment opportunities — but right now it’s a job seeker’s hiring market.


By Guy Berger, International Business Times

As technologies advance, it can be easy to worry about future employment opportunities — but right now it’s a job seeker’s hiring market. Unemployment in the U.S. is at its lowest point in 17 years, and hiring in 2017 was up 10.4 percent from 2016, according to the LinkedIn Workforce Report. There’s even optimism about the creation of new kinds of jobs: A recent report from the Institute for the Future forecasted that 85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be invented.

Job seekers benefit from knowing what opportunities are available to them, as well as what skills are needed to obtain those opportunities. The skills required for different job titles change over time, but now we have the data to show just how job functions are changing.

[post_ads]In aforementioned report, LinkedIn found that the fastest growing jobs over the past five years are data scientists, customer success managers and realtors. Some of the most in-demand jobs will continue to be tech-related, with candidates for a wide variety of roles benefiting from digital savvy or technical expertise. Take data scientist roles, which have grown six times in the last five years. If you’re looking to get hired as a data scientist, the most common job titles used as stepping stones into data scientist positions include research assistant, teaching assistant, software engineer, data scientist and business analyst.

But not everyone has to be a technologist to advance in tomorrow’s workplace, and soft skills will always be in demand. The World Economic Forum’s Global Human Capital Report found that core, cross-functional skills like leadership and customer service underpin roles across multiple industries. Anyone finding themselves in an account manager, project manager, customer service representative, program manager or sales manager role might consider switching careers to become a customer success manager now or in the near future. After all, those jobs are the most common pathways into today’s in-demand customer success manager roles. Sales skills, like those needed for the customer-facing jobs, are in high demand in many cities today, including Los Angeles.

Licensed realtors are another job function experiencing growth, and are especially in demand in the Dallas-Ft.Worth and Houston areas. Roles in the real estate space tend to be more widely distributed across the U.S. rather than being concentrated solely in coastal cities, so there’s a huge opportunity for those looking to explore new locations. 
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If geography is destiny, consider a move to pursue job opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin or Washington, D.C., the three U.S. cities with the greatest skills scarcities, suggests LinkedIn’s report. It’s also notable that the demand for freelancers (particularly within the software, healthcare and retail industries) and a corresponding focus on mobility is spread across the country. But the geographic areas experiencing the most growth — those to keep in mind for future opportunities — are the South and Midwest. It’s clear that location will be a big point of change in the coming years and may lead to the creation of new economic hubs beyond the coasts.

Overall job growth in the next decade is actually expected to outstrip growth during the previous decade, creating 11.5 million jobs in the U.S. by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Knowing which skills are in demand, and which skills and positions make it easier to navigate career pivots, will help today’s professionals keep up with changes in the employment landscape.

While it may seem that tech roles dominate the landscape — and it’s true that the top five emerging jobs have software skills in common — there’s also an incredible opportunity for professionals across the board to take advantage of ongoing and future changes to the job market. New roles are emerging all the time, giving workers at all levels the opportunities to grow, especially those who are looking to change careers or relocate in the new year.

Guy Berger is an economist at LinkedIn.

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