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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App Review: Stop, Breathe & Think

Feeling overwhelmed? You aren’t alone. The demands of work, life, and family add up quickly in today’s always-connected existence. While the challenges of technology are many (you won’t catch me bashing technology for long), there is a mobile app that can help you in the contexts of self-efficacy, one construct of social cognitive theory, and optimism, a component of planned happenstance.

Yscreen-shot-2016-06-21-at-12-14-33-pmou’ve probably heard about the power of meditation, not just as a strategy for relaxation, but also, as recently stated in The New York Times (NYT) “How to Meditate” WellGuide, to “increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness.” I struggled with the concept for years, with many failed attempts. But, last year I was assigned to write an article about stress management and productivity apps for college students when I stumbled on Stop, Breathe & Think. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

Get Set Up

Download the app on iOS, Android, or desktop, and set up an account. The app offers resources on learning to meditate, as well as a long list of guided meditations.

How Are You?

This is what the app moves you toward, guiding you to check in with yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally. This reflective process only takes a minute or two to complete. Then choose from recommended guided meditations (pick a duration from 2 to 10 minutes) or set the self-meditation timer (from 1 to 60 minutes).

Stop Breathe Think

The system tracks your progress and even provides rewards in the form of stickers to encourage your personal practice. You can see how many times this week you’ve checked in and/or meditated, as well as a list of your “top 3” emotions for the past week, month, and “all time.” You can also choose to share your efforts via social media, or keep them all to yourself (which is my personal recommendation).

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Keep Practicing

Could an app like this improve your stress levels, or those of your students and clients? Set aside some time to practice (this is key!) and set a goal of a week, month, or more to establish a routine. You may find that “just a few minutes a day can make a big difference” (NYT).

New Book: Technology in Mental Health (2016)

First, a disclaimer. One of the tech twins has a chapter in this fantastic new book, so may be a little biased. We’ll let you be the judge.

tech_book

First, this book is the only one that focuses specifically on the topic of technology in mental health. This second edition has 39 chapters written by 52 different authors who represent practitioners, professors, consultants, directors, from various mental health fields. The technologies covered spread the gamut and include telephone counseling, chat, virtual reality, texting and more. The book is divided into two sections: Part 1 focuses on the use of technologies in mental health, while Part 2 focuses on integrating technology into training and supervision of counseling providers. The book is full of practical examples, scenarios, ethical considerations, and plenty of up-to-date references for further reading. In addition, the list of 52 authors represents a host of potential fellow technophiles to connect with and learn from.

The book is available online here and you can receive a 15% discount if you add the code GOSS0716. As an instructor of a technology in counseling course, I’m thrilled to have such a high quality book for my students.

 

App Review: Unstuck

The career counseling field is dismally behind the times when it comes to career decision making apps. A career practitioner will be hard-pressed to find more than a handful (if even that) of apps designed specifically to enhance the career decision making process. Until that changes, career professionals have to rely on traditional tools of videos, websites, and pdfs, or be creative in finding potential applications of apps designed for other uses to our world. For example, cognitive restructuring is a powerful tool in addressing negative career thoughts, but no career belief cognitive restructuring apps exist. Thus, we have to lean on apps such as stress and anxiety companion and modify our instructions with clients to use them for career-related stress.

Career decision making is a decision making that is applied to career decisions, and involves career-specific information. There are theoretical approaches to career decision making such as Cognitive Information Processing theory and the CASVE Cycle but unfortunately, there is not an app yet for “that.” There is, however a fantastic generic decision making app called “Unstuck.” The app starts with the assumption that a user is stuck in a current decision, and takes the person through various exercises to help them become “unstuck.” These approaches are inclusive of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are contributing to that stuck experience.

Here’s a picture of what a final profile might look like:

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In addition to helping to analyze the problem from various perspectives, standard advice is given on how to proceed, given the self-described issues. A next step is for career counseling and development researchers to explore the potential usefulness of this tool for career counseling clients. If you’ve used this tool with clients, we’d love to learn from your experience!