Are your skills considered valuable by employers now and into the future? Do you know what careers are most valued? What skills do you need to add and how? Questions about job trends are frequently asked of employment and career counsellors, and answering these questions is never easy. Right now, as we face an even more unpredictable and fast changing economic landscape, those questions have increased and become even more fraught.
Some of us might think that these concerns come mostly from high school graduates, but often they come from career changers of all ages and stages, facing concerns about job instability in a changing labour market, and their ability to adapt to it and stay ahead.
Canadian Job Trends
Finding the data necessary to answer these questions isn’t easy. To get a sense of labour market trends, present and future projections in Canada, the federal government has put together a Job Trend Analysis website that draws from sources such as the five-yearly census, annual taxes, and unemployment insurance claims. This site is part of Employment and Social Development Canada’s Job Bank, and is worth exploring for anyone who is rethinking their career or wanting to learn more about potential jobs.
However, the site does not necessarily present the entire picture — the information tends to be a little behind the curve, as it takes time to compile and present the data; it’s also, of course, restricted to Canadian data, which is an important limitation at a time when careers and jobs are global and increasingly unbound by geographic limitations.
10 Most In-demand Careers
A new initiative by LinkedIn and Microsoft presents another useful perspective on this issue. Drawing on LinkedIn’s huge database of millions of users, companies, job postings, and skills on their platform, the career platform has compiled a list of the 10 most in-demand jobs in the current (2020) global market, which are most likely to continue to grow in the future.
Based on steady growth patterns in previous years, wages and whether the skills can be learnt online LinkedIn identified the following 10 jobs and skillsets:
- Sales Representative — negotiation, CRM, new business development, B2B, storytelling, social media.
- Project Manager — program management, process improvement, project performance.
- IT Administrator — manage systems, subscriptions, configuration, and identity; Windows Server, Active Directory.
- Customer Service Specialist — customer satisfaction, customer experience, data entry, CRM, admin analysis.
- Digital Marketer — social media, content strategy, SEO, marketing channels; Google Analytics, Google Ads.
- IT Support/ Helpdesk — troubleshooting, deployment; Active Directory, computer hardware, Microsoft Windows Server.
- Data Analyst — data analysis, analytics, visualization; Microsoft Excel, SQL, BI, Tableau.
- Financial Analyst — financial analysis, risk management, accounting, analytical skills, data analysis.
- Graphic Designer — design systems, layout, colour; Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop.
Best of all, with the limitations of the current pandemic in mind, LinkedIn put together 10 sets of Learning Paths, based on these careers, to offer free online video-based training to users (free until March 2021), provided by industry-expert instructors. Upon completion of each path, users receive a certificate of completion, to share on their LinkedIn profile.
As we have mentioned in previous blogs, the focus is on a balance between hard and soft skills, including a focus on collaboration, change, diversity and inclusion. To that end, LinkedIn also provides a Master In-Demand Professional Soft Skills set of free online courses, including:
- Emotional Intelligence – for enhanced personal performance and effective work relationships
- Resilience – bouncing back from difficult situations
- Dealing with change — keeping change in perspective and adapting
- Critical thinking – rational and effective decision-making, good argumentation and judgement
- Relationship building – personal and professional trust
- Teamwork – building healthy and productive teams
- Communication skills – effective use of meetings, email and presentations
- Listening – learning to listen actively
- Persuasiveness – being heard, having an impact and getting people to agree
- Writing skills – using simple, clear and plain written language to be understood
- Creativity – learning to be more fearless and unleash creative thinking
Think through your target jobs and read through descriptions of them in job postings to identify the most valuable skills for your field. Pick a couple (two to three, perhaps) of key skills and focus on them. Remember to mention them in interviews, preferably with specific example of where you have used them in your past.
Other Sources for Learning Skills
Skills training is increasingly available online often at low cost or even free for those seeking an opportunity to enhance their skills. Multiple sources of training, such as colleges, universities and private schools are now offering the flexibility of multiple start dates and greater course choices, as detailed in a previous blog I wrote earlier this year.
Make Sure to Show Off Your New Skills
Don’t forget to add these new skills to your resume, your LinkedIn profile and to mention them in cover letters, when relevant to a particular job.
Whether you’re still in school or already working, it’s never too late to put yourself on the path to a career you love.
Career counselling at JVS Toronto will help you identify your interests, skills, personality and values to build a clear picture of what will make you feel happy and fulfilled in your career. Find out more at jvstoronto.org/career-exploration