The promise of jobs is still the rallying cry of politicians. “We are going to bring back jobs in _______” (fill in the blank with whichever industry or region they are trying to rally.) Yet the jobs they promise never materialize, and even those that seem to be created have often disappeared once the attention is turned to something else.
In a previous blog entry, we addressed the concern that some jobs and industries are not likely to expand or return to pre-recession levels. A recent report from the World Economic Forum examines some of the trends that will help shape the future of jobs and work. It’s a long read, but the insights it presents are thought provoking.
The authors state, “New categories of jobs will emerge, partly or wholly displacing others. The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will change in most industries and transform how and where people work. It may also affect female and male workers differently and transform the dynamics of the industry gender gap.”
The key for labor and management is to recognize these trends and prepare for them rather than cling to outdated employment models. While there is a likelihood of employment growth, we must recognize the job types and skills that will be essential to future workers. The report predicts the possibility of creating 2.2 million new jobs in the United States, but that is accompanied by the displacement of 1.6 million current workers.
Obviously, we want to be on the positive side of those job changes. Doing so will require a change in the sills our employees possess and redesign of existing jobs. As demand grows, employees with these skills will be more difficult to recruit and retain. This necessitates renewed job training for our current workforce. The report cites investing in current employees as the most significant workforce strategy in all employment types and industries.
The report lists the top 10 skills workers will need in 2020 as compared to those from 2015.
Source: The Future of Jobs
The factors in the top skills list for 2020 generally fall into the category of “soft skills.” At Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee, these are the skills for which we provide training, coaching, and support. Many of them are based in teamwork and employee engagement, key skills for organization wishing to grow and deliver world-class services and products.
If we are truly serious about creating jobs, we need to begin by looking at the skills employees will need in the future. Focusing on obsolete or declining job types will not produce a lasting impact, and strategies that focus on these jobs may look good in the short term, but are doomed to fail. We must begin by working together to identify the skills our employees will need going forward and providing the training employers and current employees will need to be successful.