STEM jobs continue their explosive growth, but employers also want soft skills
- LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report shows that the biggest job growth on the horizon is in tech professions. Big data engineers, data scientists, machine learning engineers and other tech specialists will be in demand, according to the company's five-year study. Although data scientist jobs have grown 650%, supply of actual skilled workers hasn't kept up with job growth — a common problem right now.
- Soft skills are emerging as key competencies in tech firms, says LinkedIn. Right now, hiring managers are looking for workers with high levels of adaptability, culture fit, collaboration, leadership skills and growth potential, according to the study.
- The top emerging soft-skills jobs that don't require technical know-how are customer success manager, sales development representative and brand partner. The report also shows that some of these emerging skills were nonexistent five years ago, and that many professionals aren't sure their current skills will be relevant one or two years from now.
The continued growth in tech jobs is no surprise. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs are here to stay and growing in number and demand. And thanks to automation and other disruptive forces, employers right now are finding they have to recruit and train employees for jobs that don't exist yet. To help fill tech jobs now and into the future, employers might need to consider rebranding their STEM positions.
The emerging professions LinkedIn calls "high mobility" jobs are the flexible type usually associated with gig workers, such as independent contractors and consultants. By all reports, the gig economy is growing fast and is predicted to dominate the workforce by 2027. More employees are looking for and expecting flexible work schedules to balance home and work responsibilities. Therefore, they might find high-mobility jobs worth pursuing in the future — and employers will need to be able to adapt if they want to find people with the right skills.
Calls for flexibility also explain the growing need for soft skills and employees that are adaptable. Some employers, thanks to a dearth of STEM talent, have opted to hire employees strong in various soft skills and train them on the technical know-how they require.