- Employees educated in diverse fields of study choose career paths that rely on similar skill sets, according to a report by labor market data research firm Emsi.
- The report tracked the career paths of graduates from three types of education programs: philosophy, language and the social sciences; business and communication; and engineering and information technology. Emsi found that, regardless of whether students earned degrees with a job-specific application, their career paths tended to center on jobs that involved "core functions that make a business run smoothly." Those functions include tactical and interpersonal communication, operational oversight and interpersonal oversight.
- Emsi found that for every major, careers in management, sales, marketing and business and financial analysis were common (among the top 10 career outcomes for each area of study). The report's authors analyzed Emsi's database of over 100 million career profiles to create the report.
Employers are likely familiar with research concluding that the typical employee's skillset won't meet the future demands of the workplace.
That conclusion is supported by firms like Gartner, which concluded in 2018 that only 30% of employees have the skills they need to perform their jobs today and that even fewer, 20%, have the skills they need for both current and future jobs. A recent report by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology warned of employment polarization caused by technology, leading to situations in which workers with highly technical skill sets are disproportionately favored.
Predictions of this sort are leading employers to strategize around their future needs and adapt employee learning programs accordingly. For some that means a focus on soft skills, including leadership, communication and collaboration, each of which can be adapted across roles and functions, sources previously told HR Dive. The business-critical skills highlighted in Emsi's report fall firmly in the soft skills bucket, indicating that these skills may be critical to workers' future prospects regardless of career path.
Emsi's findings also point to the importance of centering learning program design around a long-view of career development. Career path mapping may be one way to support both employers' needs and employees' ambitions. This also gives employers the chance to be creative — one example previously described to HR Dive by a source included a play on the "The Game of Life" board game.
Still, it may take time for future-oriented thinking to catch on. An August study by Axonify found that fewer than half of employees said their employers are training workers in preparation for the future.