One of the most important things to understand about today’s job market is that it has changed a lot in recent years, and will continue to change rapidly. The rules that applied to searching for a job 10 or 20 years ago are very different to the rules that apply today, so it’s important that you understand what’s changed.
1. Disappearing jobs
Thanks to globalisation and increased automation, the type of jobs available in highly developed countries have changed.
As a result, certain types of jobs are increasingly rare. Manufacturing has mostly been outsourced to countries where labour is cheaper. Technological improvements, driven by computing, have caused job losses as machines have become able to do jobs that only humans used to be able to do. Think of companies like Amazon: they can use increasingly sophisticated robots in their warehouses to reduce the number of humans that they have to employ.
So, whereas 30 years ago an individual might have been able to rely on a job in manufacturing to support themselves and their family, it’s no longer that simple.
2. New jobs
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Although many jobs have disappeared thanks to outsourcing and better technology, new types of jobs have also emerged.
For example, think of how many jobs have been created by the internet. Most big companies hire workers to manage their ‘online presence’, which essentially means how they use social media and other websites to promote their product or service. Thousands of start-ups depend on the popularity of the internet, and opportunities for workers with programming skills are constantly increasing.
Thinking about the industries that are growing, and the types of jobs that are becoming more important, can be important when deciding your career path. If you want to be involved in a dynamic industry with lots of potential for growth, then the types of jobs emerging with increasingly advanced technology will be of interest to you.
3. No more ‘jobs for life’
40 years ago, you could have expected to stay with one company for most of your career, but jobs today are much less secure.
The ‘job for life’, with a training scheme, planned career structure, and steady increase in income, is gone.
It’s now much more common for people to change jobs more often, either because they feel they can achieve more elsewhere or due to redundancies. Younger workers in particular are less likely to stay in a dead-end job out of loyalty to their employer. At the same time, some companies prefer to hire workers on a more flexible, short-term basis.
Before you start in the world of work, you must be prepared to change jobs and perhaps even careers many times throughout your working life.
4. Changing Education
The role of education is also changing. Although getting a good degree is still important, the chances are that it’s no longer enough on its own to ensure you a successful career.
Employers want to see workers with a variety of different skills. On top of the normal academic qualifications, taking extra courses in relevant topics such as programming or management skills are increasingly needed to set you apart.
Online courses have become extremely popular in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue. Universities will remain important, but it’s likely that their dominance of further education will be somewhat eroded as employers look for evidence of a wide range of skills from prospective employees.
The job market has changed a lot in recent years, and it will continue to change as technology develops and changes the economy. Certain jobs will disappear, new jobs will be created, and employers will expect different skills. So it’s important that you respond to these changes, and start to prepare yourself for them now.