The Future of Jobs – Report Review

I’m still pouring over research discovered several months ago during a collaborative writing project with Lynn Atanasoff, a distance career counselor at Penn State World Campus. Lynn and I were reading about the effects of technology on not only the work we do, but also our health. Terms like technostress and telepressure filled our fall and spring, and we are proud to have a related article in press with Career Development Quarterly, but I digress …

Future of Jobs

A 2016 report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills, and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution [PDF], takes a global look at “… developments in genetics, 3D printing and biotechnology, … [which] are all building on and amplifying one another.” As the authors state, “While the impending change holds great promise, the patterns of consumption, production and employment created by it also pose major challenges requiring proactive adaptation by corporations, governments and individuals.”

What is the potential role for career practitioners in this revolution? “By evaluating the future labor market from the perspective of some of the world’s largest employers [WEF] hopes to improve the current stock of knowledge around anticipated skills needs, recruitment patterns and occupational requirements.” Having a better awareness of the future of jobs, and the dynamic nature of technology-related changes, is a good place to start.

This report is long (167 pages), but well organized including helpful data visualization elements throughout. I encourage you to browse WEF’s findings through a survey of senior human resources and strategy executives representing nine industry sectors and 15 regional economic areas.

A few highlights…

Top-rated demographic and socio-economic drivers of change:

  • Changing work environments and flexible working arrangements (44%)
  • Rise of the middle class in emerging markets (23%)
  • Climate change, natural resource constraints and the transition to a greener economy (23%)

Top-rated technological drivers of change:

  • Mobile internet and cloud technology (34%)
  • Advances in computing power and big data (26%)
  • New energy supplies and technologies (22%)

Top-growing in-demand skills across industries:

  • Cognitive abilities – e.g., creativity, logical reasoning, visualization
  • Systems skills – e.g., judgement, decision-making, analysis
  • Complex problem solving – e.g., solving ill-defined problems in real-world settings
  • Content skills – e.g., active learning, communication, computer literacy

See page 21 for more information and a helpful graphic – based on O*Net – that breaks down abilities, basic skills and cross-functional skill sets into categories, e.g., social, systems, complex problem solving, resource management, technical.

Explore the report in more detail to discover implications specific to the industries and clients you may serve, and consider sharing with colleagues in your career center or office.

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