Clusters of opportunity

Expected labour market evolution over the next five years shows that companies are expecting to restructure their workforce in response to new technologies, with further automation reducing headcount in lower-skilled roles and a greater use of contractors for task specialised work.

Future growth, new skill sets, and job roles are likely to be focussed on technology-driven activities such as cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and cyber security; with most roles experiencing some kind of task-shift as technical adoption allows for more tasks to become automated.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Survey highlights job roles with increasing demand over the next five years, tech-driven roles in Data Analysis, AI and Machine Learning, Big Data, Digital Transformation and Information Security dominate the list.

In addition to the tech-driven roles, the importance of human interaction in the new economy can be seen through continued important of roles in the care economy, in sales and marketing, and for those with an aptitude for understanding and working with diverse groups of people in management or organisational roles.

Synthesis of these demands shows eight clear clusters of job roles where growth is focussed:

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Content Creation
  3. Data and AI
  4. Engineering
  5. Marketing
  6. People and Culture
  7. Product Development
  8. Sales
Projections from the forum’s analysis show between 50% and 80% of job entrants to jobs in these clusters being filled by professionals transitioning from an occupation outside the cluster; and up to 50% of these job pivots being from roles and backgrounds with low levels of similarity to the new role.

At a time of unprecedented labour market disruption, skills shortages are prevalent in the most in-demand roles and cited as a brake on business performance by hiring managers.

This shortage of technical skills means job opportunities are open for candidates who can demonstrate the underpinning soft skills in areas such as analysis, problem-solving, self-management, active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.

Organisations are still the primary driver for addressing skills shortages with in-company training the most prevalent route for developing professional skills.

For individuals whose current career path is impacted by these changes, developments in learning technologies mean that mastery of in-demand skills can be achieved with focussed activity over a relatively short period. 

Globally valued digital marketing qualifications for content creation roles can be achieved in 3 months; key skills in areas such as Information Security, Web Design and Software Engineering can be achieved in 6 months or less.