The world of employment is changing as technology constantly evolves opening new career doors while closing others. By 2030 the job market will look dramatically different to what it does today. According to research by Nesta.org.uk the prediction is that about 10 per cent of workers are in occupations that are likely to grow as a share of the workforce and 20 per cent will shrink. As for the remaining jobs, their outlook is more uncertain. Although alarming, this needn’t be disastrous for the workforce. There is an opportunity for employees in uncertain or shrinking occupations to improve their prospects by investing in the right skills.
A priority is investment in digital skills they are seen as offering people greater employability and job resilience. But which digital skills are worth investing in? According to Nesta occupations which are more certain will have poor prospects, are more likely to require a digital skill than the occupations that are most likely to grow by 2030. This is because the relationship between the digital intensity of an occupation and its potential for growth is not straightforward: there are occupations that are currently not digitally intensive, but are expected to grow in the next 10-15 years, as varied as teachers and chefs.
The type of digital skills needed in a job also makes a difference: the digital skills most likely to be needed in growing occupations are ones that are used in non-routine tasks, problem-solving and the creation of digital outputs. Nesta continue to analyse the job market and they do this by regularly reviewing job adverts to help understand the demand for digital skills. Online job postings are a great source of near real-time information on the current labour market.
For the analysis, Nesta start with a list of skills that are actually software programmes, such as Maya or PeopleSoft. Next, Nesta look at the skills which tend to be mentioned alongside software skills in job adverts. Examples of these skills are 3D animation, Data mining and Agile development. Certain digital skills are much more prominent in occupations with a low probability of growth. The analysis shows that skills related to using software for administrative purposes (e.g. payroll, accounting, supply chain, sales, etc.) are more prevalent in occupations that are predicted to decline. Examples of these software tools include ADP Payroll, Navision and SAP Warehouse Management. In contrast, digital skills used in animation, engineering, education and computing are more prevalent in occupations that are predicted to grow. Examples include Autodesk MotionBuilder, Ansys and Blackboard LMS.
Some occupations are likely to grow, but are not currently digitally intensive include Primary and secondary teaching, professionals, Chefs, Catering and bar managers. Other occupations, including Artists, Mechanical engineers and Telecommunications engineers, both require digital skills and are likely to grow.
Nesta found that the digital skills most likely to be needed in the future are ones that are used in non-routine tasks, problem-solving and the creation of digital outputs. On the other hand, the digital skills that are linked to occupations least likely to grow tended to relate to the use of software for administrative purposes. Also the research revealed that the relationship between the digital intensity of an occupation and its prospects for growth is not straightforward: there are occupations that are currently not digitally intensive, but are expected to grow in the next 10-15 years. Investment in digital skills development need to take these differences into account to ensure an employable workforce going forward.
With thanks to Nesta.org.uk