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THE STUDENT LIFE

How to be irreplaceable in today’s job market

Turns out that the skills market has shifted so greatly and continues to change so quickly that by the time many of us have skilled up for one industry, the demand just isn’t there anymore.

Tara Sinclair, Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University and Chief Economist at Indeed, the world’s largest job search engine, is here to tell us al about the tricks for ruling the labour market, industry trends and her advice for all of us that are looking to land a job and get paid well for it.

Shall we?

The problem:

According to Sinclair, this boils down to one simple mismatch:

“There are employers saying that they’re not finding graduates with the skills they need but on the other hand we have graduates  saying, ‘I’m not finding a job in the area that I studied.’ There is a persistent mismatch here.”

So, where does the burden lie?

Is it on students picking degrees that don’t offer any specific employment training? Or is it on the universities who are welcoming 12,000 new lawyers into the work force each year without the job market necessarily needing them? Or is it with employers who are not hiring graduates and looking for someone with more ‘experience’ in their place?

Sinclair explains:

“The university model was never to specifically train job seekers; it was to make people a foundation, and they were to learn the job when they got there”. Instead the employers she argues, “need to be more responsible in hiring graduates and job seekers need to be more clever about the skills we are offering”.

Have you ever gone to a hairdresser, been talked into a fringe by a Vogue Magazine cover, only to realise mid-chop that the magazine is three years old? The anxiety of shame-pinning a fringe for six months is akin to that of the graduate who has completed their degree only to realise that employees aren’t really looking for a Mixed Media Communications Psychologist.

Turns out that the skills market has shifted so greatly and continues to change so quickly that by the time many of us have skilled up for one industry, the demand just isn’t there anymore.

What are the top trends for being irreplaceable in the global job market:

  1. The global rise in the data scientist. Can you tell a story with data? Can you design and interpret graphics? Well, data visualisation is the quickest growing speciality. If you are able to connect numbers, data and technology with some kind of creative skill set – employers will practically fall over themselves to offer you a job according to Sinclair.
  1. Turns out on a global scale, the industry offering the most opportunity in the next decade is health care. “There are so many opportunities, in every aspect, from clinical, to research, to administration,” Sinclair explains. “For young people looking to study or to specialise, they should consider health. You don’t necessarily need to have studied a traditional entry degree to land a well paid job in the industry, there is so much demand in the coming years that experts in any industry – from tech, to communications, to business – have the opportunity to repurpose their skills.”
  1. No matter what your industry, you need to become more adaptable, which means mixing-up your skills. You need to be creative, you need to be a fairly good writer, a good speaker, have a strong hand shake and be a candlestick maker. The new rules for success are that you cannot study and specialise in isolation. Today, you need to have a diversified and interconnected skill set. Couple your journalism degree with a coding course; or your nursing degree with an understanding of data. To stand out, offering a combined skill set will set you apart.

“The university model was never to specifically train job seekers; it was to make people a foundation, and they were to learn the job when they got there”.

  1. Higher education: We can’t ignore the connection between higher education and employment. “There is a world of difference, and there continues to be huge returns on going to university for job seekers,” Sinclair explains. On both an entry wage level and on wage growth, international job trends show us that those with a degree are set to earn a substantial amount more. On top of that, when you look at the unemployment rate of those without degrees to those with degrees, in the same age bracket, the amount doubles.
  1. Landing the role of your dreams could be as easy as searching full time. What’s interesting is that graduates aren’t looking for ‘jobs’, they are looking for ‘part time’ work. Tara tells us that the top searches in May 2016 on Indeed Job were; part time, casual and retail; closely followed by flexible. What it tells us is that there is a huge transition in the job market, which again, is making the old supply and demand model out of order. These are highly skilled and highly qualified people looking for part time work. While a lot of the part time and casual positions out there are not hiring qualified skills. You standardly consider part time as low skill and the disconnect is that young people are bargaining for skilled labour on their time, and employers don’t want it.

What are the highest paying professions:

The standard Gen Y occupation of having a good Saturday night actually requires a small mortgage in 2016. Hell, a trip to the movies costs more than a tank of fuel. So, what are the professions that are GLOBALLY ranked as the highest paying?

  1. The most highly paid jobs are the technical jobs. People like software engineers, Silicon Valley developers and more even more importantly, those who can blend these tech skills with creative assets.
  2. The data specialists and scientists. These are experts in any industry who can visualise data and use numbers to visually tell a story. Tara recognises this to be the quickest growing salary, globally.
  3. Medical professionals. Yes doctors, surgeons and medical professors are on this list, but moving forward, people that are innovating the health space from a technical and creative skill set have huge opportunity.

The quickest depleting salary, globally?

Lawyers. Not only are we seeing too many graduate, many of their once ivory tower skills have now been automated. Law is seeing some global declines in terms of salaries and job demand.

So, is moving up in the world a fun process? Not always. But are you smarter than your boss? Always. So, up-skill, get technical and dive deep into some data and you’ll be throwing away lines like, “Please sign here” and “Send me the cheque today!”

Keen to get a move on? Check out our job finder.

How to be irreplaceable in today’s job market
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