The five biggest job trends to watch for in 2017 may leave some of us a little downhearted. A new report out this month by jobs portal Glassdoor points to far more automation of our jobs.
Penned by chief executive Dr Andre Chamberlain, a former labor economist, the report warns us that those of us who do not keep our skillset up to date are likely to be left far behind.
The findings formed part of Glassdoor’s economic report, Looking Ahead: 5 Jobs Trends to Watch in 2017.
It also shows that moves towards working in a piecemeal fashion – think Uber drivers – is something that is likely to significantly slow down.
1) Gigs are going
Going are those unskilled contract or temporary roles where people seek more flexibility. The fastest growing jobs these days, says the report, are those which require creativity, judgment, and personal skills – the kind of jobs which, Chamberlain says, do not lend themselves to such flexible working patterns.
Irregular, less skilled jobs will have the highest churn – with most giving up before a year. He cites a November 2016 study that found only 4.3 percent of US adults had ever made money from an online platform like Uber, TaskRabbit or Airbnb.
2) HR will revolutionize itself
Another element is that data science will revolutionize every industry sector, including HR and recruitment. Traditionally, data scientists have been absent from HR-related issues, much to their detriment. Chamberlain points out that low-cost data analytics tools for employers mean that 2017 is the year that this sector finally catches up.
He also says that as businesses generate more data and as analysis of this data becomes better, decisions should be reached much quicker.
“Using data science in HR to make even small improvements in recruiting, hiring and engagement has the potential for huge benefits to organizations,” says Chamberlain.
Even small firms can use workforce analytics to track an employee’s progression or use methods for workforce management without spending a lot.
Chamberlain doesn’t just refer to automated drivers, though he does say transportation will undergo phenomenal changes, especially around taxis and truck drivers. The impact will be felt in other sectors too including white-collar work.
What is needed is for workers to ‘up skill’ he says, with more focus on training programs to help employees develop new skills.
Futurists have been warning about automation for a while now. Accusations that machines destroy jobs have been around as long as machines. Research shows that large-scale job losses due to automation are unlikely, though no one’s job will escape automation in some way.
The continued growth of mobiles, cheap data storage and innovations in machine learning, will bring about the biggest changes in 2017. Those most affected will be in routine, mostly manual jobs – those that don’t require creative judgement such as long-haul trucking and taxi driving.
In the same way, white-collar jobs will not be immune to these trends. For financial analysts, Tableau and other dashboard analytics tools are already radically reshaping roles in this sector.
The key is to keeping your job safe, says Chamberlain, is to build your skills to ensure you are complementary to technology: ‘learning to run the machine, not doing the same work the machine automates,’ is the trick.
4) Mind the pay gap
Other areas to come under scrutiny will include a welcome approach to ‘employers taking action against the gender pay gap’.
In the same way that 2016 revealed a more transparent approach to pay, 2017 will see more employers taking even further action to reduce gender pay disparities.
5) A move away from flashy benefits packages
Things like free lunches, dog-friendly workplaces, on-site acupuncture, games pods and even paid leave to go travelling will become outdated, suggests the report.
It says these perks may have reached a tipping point. In 2017 employers will pull back on flashy benefits in favor of traditional ones like pension plans and health care coverage.
“In many ways, 2016 was a landmark year for hiring,” said Chamberlain. He adds: “However, technology and automation are changing the way we work forever, creating both opportunities and challenges for 2017 and beyond. In this environment, the future of jobs, employer branding and recruiting is top of mind for job seekers, employees and employers.”