Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Preparing for the Job Market of 2020

Although it’s only 5 years away, the workforce of 2020 will look a lot different than it does today. From the real-time nature of our connected society to the explosion of internet connected devices, we’re already starting to see how these changes are impacting jobs in every career field. Some of these changes include the technology we use to do our jobs, the virtual location of our jobs, and the way we collaborate with team members and other colleagues. These changes will only continue to accelerate over the next few years.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes we’ll see impacting all careers will be the exponential amount of data that’s being created and the way companies leverage this data throughout their organization. This data will be generated from the web, mobile devices, wearable devices, connected products such as cars, and the supercomputers used to power all of these devices.

The specific impact and skill sets will vary depending on what field you’re working in, but most experts agree that there is a core set that will be common to a wide variety of industries. These skills will benefit you throughout your career as you transfer from position to position.

Among these skills that will be critical to success in 2020 and beyond include:

The ability to think strategically in real time – The amount of information that will be generated and will need to be processed and acted upon will require employees to balance strategic thinking with quick action. From healthcare technology and medical coding to IT and business administration, every industry will be impacted by an overwhelming amount of digital data. This information will need to be interpreted quickly and strategic decisions made in real-time.

The ability to visualize patterns and trends – In the age of big data, more and more companies will begin using this data to influence decisions. Being able to understand how the data creates meaningful patterns and trends will play a critical role in the success of companies. We’re already starting to see pattern and trend visualization based on real-time data have an impact in places that were previously unimaginable. For example, the CDC is currently using Twitter and other social channels to track and diagnose epidemics while businesses are using data to predict customer needs before the customer even realizes it.

Ongoing Innovation – The employees of 2020 will realize that innovation isn’t merely a sudden burst of insight, but rather an ongoing process where one innovation lays the foundation for the next innovation. In such fluid and dynamic work environments, employees will be tasked with constantly finding new ways of improving productivity, cutting costs, and assisting with development and research.

Although 2020 is still five years away, there are still things you can do today to position yourself for success in the future workforce. To begin with, follow your industry to determine where future talent will be most needed. This will help you to stay on top of the latest innovations in your field and determine what skills will be needed to seize opportunities related to these innovations. Staying current with popular industry blogs, following thought leaders on Twitter in your field, or joining industry groups on LinkedIn is a great way to do this.

To find out what specific skills are needed to succeed today, and how to use those skills to build a foundation for future success, be sure to take a look at our Leadership Series.

What are your thoughts on the future of the workforce? What’s the biggest change you see coming to your career field?