Business Development

Do you need a GPS for your career?

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A massive labor market churn is coming, bigger than the advent of the PC

  • High-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology will predominantly impact business growth in the 2018–2022 period
  • 133 million new jobs, many in new roles
  • By 2022, 54% of existing employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling ~ World Economic Forum
  • 120 million people will need to be reskilled ~ Diane Gherson, IBM CHRO
How do you know which skills are in demand that will be needed in both digitally intensive jobs, and more broadly?

Which skills retain their value over time? If such a set of emergent, critical skills exists, how do the skills interact, and what do they mean for job seekers and incumbent employees, educators, and employers? To find out, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) commissioned Burning Glass Technologies to examine skills in the job market by drawing from a set of more than 150 million unique U.S. job postings, dating back to 2007.  The research identified 14 skills that have become foundational in the new economy, which converge in three interrelated groups: Human Skills, business skills, and digital skills.

Human Skills apply social, creative and critical intelligence to problems. These skills – critical thinking, creativity, communication, analytical skills, collaboration, and relationship building – appear on many lists of sought-after “soft skills.”

Digital Building Block Skills are increasingly useful outside traditional digitally intense job families. These skills are especially useful to analysts and data-driven decision makers. These skills include analyzing data, managing data, software development, computer programming, and digital security and privacy.

Business Enabler Skills allow the other skills to be put to work in practical situations, and include project management, business process, communicating data, and digital design.

Despite the fact that having skills from all three groups can provide a significant advantage, Burning Glass’ examination of resumes showed that only one-fifth of workers claim skills in all three categories.

What are some of the key take-aways on these Foundational Skills?

  • New Foundational Skills increase in value as careers advance – Skills in all three of the skills groups appear to be of enduring value, often becoming more important as people advance.
  • Those who develop the New Foundational Skills earn significantly more – The average advertised salary of jobs requesting at least one of the New Foundational Skills was $61,000; $8,000 more than the average for all other jobs.
  • A diversity of the New Foundational Skills creates increased job mobility –  While each of these skills is valuable, those who build and draw on skills in each of the three groups are most likely to advance into senior roles and are highly valued.

So, how do you navigate your career and steer it towards success?

Recognize the importance of the New Foundational Skills and pursue strategies to acquire and signal them:
  • Identify gaps in current knowledge around new foundational skill areas. Eg: Courses like Professional skills and Design Thinking that are a great starting point and can be taken for free.
  • Use internal training, MOOCs, boot camps, or education benefits to build skills. Eg: Courses like Data Science and MicroServices on Coursera are great Digital Skill enablers.
  • Learn to effectively communicate with, and learn from, digitally savvy peers.
  • Position oneself for career growth by gaining experience with adjacent tasks and functions that require the development of new skills.
  • In resumes and other presentations, signal confirmed levels of competency, including certifications, in each of the three groups of New Foundational Skills.

Not every person will need all skills, but jobseekers and incumbent employees can mix and match skills to become the blended digital professionals who have the potential to thrive in a digital economy – becoming more adaptable to future disruption, increasing their earning power, and improving their long-term career prospects.

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