How to ensure that you retain a worthy job

Changing academic and professional preferences are changing the way organisations will create job roles and employ talent in the coming times

The Hindustan Times reported today that a U.S. student, Ugbaad Kenyan, has been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Urdu in Lucknow.  Kenyan, who has keen interest to study the political history between India and Pakistan hopes that the eight week programme will enrich his knowledge and insight about the region. It will not be too far-fetched to argue that Kenyan’s academic choice was rather unconventional for a time when the global job market continues to shrink and the talent pool seeks to learn market-ready skills to get a job and stay employed.

What will define employability in the coming times?

It is no secret that the most demanded skills or “hot skills” in the employment market are cyclical and employment trends determine skilling preferences of present and future talent. Before the IT revolution transformed the employment market with high-paying salaries and swanky offices, core engineering disciplines featured in the list of hot skills. Lately, this has caused a shortage of core discipline skills across all economies and the supply gap is swaying the balance back toward “hard” skills in the market.

USA Today, a leading daily publication, conducted a country-wide analysis to understand the state of skill demand in the US market in 2013. The analysis reveals that hard skills are in short supply in the US market especially in the discipline of machines and core engineering.  A Forbes article states that some of the most trending skills of today, such as social media marketing, may cease to be in demand in the near future.  In many ways, this holds true for many of the economies in the developed and emerging markets, including India.

Some market experts argue that two critical aspects of professional capabilities will likely shape employment potential of talent in the coming times.

Employers will seek adaptability, not specialisation

A few months back, People Matters published an article titled, “Skilled or adaptable: what does your resume say?” arguing that progressive employers look for diversity of experience rather than specialisation.  It is important that existing and prospective talent of the future gain exposure to varied experiences so that the resume becomes diversified and interesting. For example, a resume that highlights that the candidate is an “IT administrator and an avid photographer” will attract more interest than one that says, “10 years of PMP experience.”

In the Indian market, workforce reports suggest that experienced IT professionals are likely to face mid-career crisis in the next 2-3 years with opportunities drying up owing their super specialised professional experience.

Niche skills will be in demand

As the demand for conventional skills drop, organisations are witnessing a number of unconventional applications for job positions. The IIJI-Teamlease Employment Outlook report for Jan-March 2013 reveals that there is a large demand for niche skills in the employment market. Employers are looking to employ talented communicators, social-media natives, and creative thinkers to devise business and marketing strategies despite them not having any relevant experience.

As adaptable and niche capabilities will drive employment potential in the future, it is equally important for existing talent to work toward gaining new and diverse experiences to be able to hold on to meaningful jobs.