We’re in a period of low unemployment – seriously low. So, is it possible, with “jobs, jobs” everywhere, that employees might be tempted to forestall the changes they need to be preparing for now, to get ahead in the age of Algorithms, Automation, and AI? Maybe.
When jobs are plentiful (with even the median wage income ticking up slightly of late), an attitude of “business as usual” can be a siren song, delaying the inevitable investment in time, training, and `tude it will take to get from “here” to “there” in the long run of the future of work.
Whether you’re a finance & accounting associate who’s also an Excel pro looking to make the jump into being an AI programmer, or a gamer glued to your couch looking to a future as an AR journey builder – the future is now. But retooling your skillset for the coming future is not an option.
The bottom line? Change is coming and as inevitable as the next economic downturn. Our new Q2 update for the Cognizant Jobs of the Future Index (CJoF) shows that while jobs of the future are growing, year-over-year, that growth is slowing.
Here are more highlights for the CJoF Index for Q2 2019:
Tracking demand for the 50 jobs, based on real US job openings sourced from Burning Glass by our analytical partners at ESI ThoughtLab, the latest CJoF Index reveals that with digital transformation accelerating, the Index is continuing to rise, but at a more moderate rate. (To read the full methodology for the CJoF Index, please click here)
As the US economy sets the record for its longest period of uninterrupted expansion—and unemployment hovers close to a 50-year low—digitally enabled jobs continue to be in high demand. However, the overall pace of growth in job openings slowed in 2Q 2019 compared with the same period a year earlier. This may reflect a temporary slack in demand as companies absorb recently hired workers. At the same time, however, several job categories posted growth far above the average, as the demand for technical skills continued to spread to jobs not traditionally associated with technology—such as career counselors, fashion designers, personal care aides, and family therapists.
The CJoF Index tracks demand for 50 digitally enabled jobs of the future identified by Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work. The CJoF Index, which captures the quarterly fluctuations in postings for these jobs, rose by a moderate 9.5 percent over the year, from an index figure of 1.37 in the 2Q 2018 to 1.50 in 2Q 2019. This was a deceleration from the year-on-year rise of 29 percent recorded in the CJoF Index in 2Q 2018 (from 1.07 in 2Q 2017).
Fitness and Wellness surpasses Work Culture as the job family with the fastest growth year on year
The fastest growing job family year on year was Fitness and Wellness, which includes personal care givers (+57 percent), family and behavioral therapists (+50 percent), home health aides (+37 percent), and fitness commitment counselors (+36 percent, proxy job). The index growth for Fitness and Wellness surpassed that of the previous frontrunner, Work Culture, which is now in third place behind the Environmental family in year-on-year increases. Job openings in the Fitness and Wellness family advanced by 44 percent, from approximately 1,000 job postings in 2Q 2018 to nearly 1,500 in 2Q 2019.
The rise in Fitness and Wellness jobs mirrors the global growth of the industry, which expanded by 12.8% over the last two years and is now valued at $4.2 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute. This increase in Fitness and Wellness is fueled by growing demand for tech skills for fitness coaches, personal trainers, and caregivers, many of whom are incorporating wearable technology, embedded sensors, smartphone apps, and other technology into their work. This trend also reflects generational shifts, with Millennials drawn to digital solutions and Baby Boomers seeking alternatives to traditional senior care.
The Environmental family index registered the second highest year-on-year growth (28 percent), with increases in postings for environmental engineers (+273 openings) accounting for 65 percent of the family’s total growth. Over the year, job postings in this family increased from approximately 1,500 in 2Q 2018 to 1,900 in 2Q 2019. With the exception of solar engineers (-11 percent), all jobs within this family realized growth over the year: solar installers (+75 percent), environmental engineers (+47 percent), sustainability specialists (+40 percent), alternative energy managers (+39 percent), and tidewater architects (+9 percent, proxy job). These robust figures reflect the increased focus of the public, employers, and state governments on climate change and its negative impacts.
Unlike last quarter, when six families realized annual growth rates of over 30 percent, only the Fitness and Wellness index managed to maintain that level of growth. The quickest growing job families in 2Q were the following:
Which jobs grew the most over the year
Compared with the second quarter of 2018, 42 of the 50 jobs covered in the CJoF Index realized an increase in openings. Only eight occupations—technology consultants, genetic counselors, avionics technicians, risk managers/analysts, solar engineers, industrial-organizational psychologists, personal financial advisors, and security/defense intelligence analysts—registered year-on-year declines in the number of job openings in 2Q. Technology consultants saw the largest drop, in terms of both percent (-39 percent) and number (-2,232 openings), going from approximately 5,800 openings in 2Q 2018 to 3,500 in 2Q 2019. This may reflect a rebalancing in the resourcing of digital transformation programs, as companies increase their reliance on in-house talent development and ecosystems of partners and suppliers.
The fastest growing jobs in the second quarter of 2019 in the CJoF Index were:
- Career Counselors (+326 percent)
- Fashion Designers (+124 percent)
- Solar Installers (+75 percent)
- Personal Care Aides (+57 percent)
- Family and Behavioral Therapists (+50 percent)
Jobs that posted the largest percent decreases in the CJoF Index in the period were:
- Technology Consultants (-39 percent)
- Genetic Counselors (-22 percent)
- Avionics Technicians (-13 percent)
- Risk Managers (-13 percent)
- Solar Engineers (-11 percent)
While percent change shows the momentum growth in jobs, the numeric increase in jobs is also a key indicator of the overall demand for these new skill sets. On this measure, software developers/engineers remained the occupation with the largest number of job postings in the CJoF Index, with an impressive jump of 22,733 in new postings over the year. This increase was followed by several other technology-focused positions, including business intelligence architects/developers (+1,801 openings), data scientists (+1,729 openings), and UI/UX designers/developers (+1,485 openings). While these job categories did not chalk up the fastest growth in percentage terms, the numeric increases underscore the ongoing search among employers for technical talent as they accelerate their data analytics and customer experience initiatives.
Notably, two proxy jobs followed closely and fell into the top ten jobs in growth: cyber calamity forecasters (+1,370 openings) and masters of edge computing (+963 openings), further emphasizing the growth in data-driven hiring. In fact, of the ten jobs with the largest numeric change over the year, seven jobs are in the Algorithm, Automation, and AI family.
Index registers quarter-on-quarter growth of 2 percent
Overall, the CJoF Index posted a moderate quarterly increase (+2 percent, the same rate as in 1Q), going from 1.47 in Q1 2019 to 1.50 in Q2 2019. This time around, the CJoF Index underperformed the All Burning Glass Jobs Index, which registered its first increase since Q3 2018 (+5 percent), from 1.29 in Q1 2019 to 1.35 in 2Q. The All Burning Glass Jobs Index reflects all job openings in the US.
The 2Q increases were also lower across all families when compared with their quarterly increases in 2Q of 2018, and lower for most families when compared with 2Q 2017 (the exception being the Environmental group). This indicates a loss of momentum in job creation compared with the same quarters in prior years.
The Environmental family realized the largest quarterly gain in job postings gain in 2Q (+13 percent), followed by Fitness and Wellness (+8 percent). Three job families exhibited modest growth over the quarter: Work Culture (+3 percent), Algorithms, Automation, and AI (+2 percent), and Healthcare (+1 percent). The Environmental and Work Culture families have registered the longest stretch of consecutive quarterly growth, with both families experiencing an expansion in job postings since Q1 2018 (six quarters).
Legal and Financial Services (-19 percent), Transport (-2 percent), and Customer Experience (-1 percent) registered quarter-on-quarter declines. All three occupations within the Legal and Financial Services family saw job postings decrease over the quarter: personal financial advisors (-26 percent), risk managers/analysts (-20 percent), and attorneys (-14 percent). This recent decline in job openings for attorneys comes after six quarters of consecutive increases, indicating that demand for these positions may be cooling. The Legal and Financial Service category also showed the poorest growth in year-on-year terms of the eight job families.
Please follow the progress of the CJoF Index each quarter
The Q2 2019 CJoF Index continues to allow us to test and/or prove our hypotheses about what the jobs of the future will look like, how they are evolving, and what will be required of employees and employers alike. While the Index doesn’t predict the future, it is a tool that allows us to examine macro trends that will affect the future of all work. Please continue to follow its progress at the beginning of each quarter to come.
For more details, including the full list of jobs and the Index methodology, visit cognizant.com/jobs-of-the-future-index.