Observing a tracking index of Jobs of the Future is an interesting pursuit. Sure, our latest numbers continue to show that openings for the roles that are well-poised for tomorrow are outpacing all jobs as a whole. But a curious trend continues to reinforce itself: the jobs of the future have matched a parallel line with jobs at large, without any real dynamism in their growth.
Why? Could it be that, at a time of near-record low unemployment, there's no "forcing factor" for people to retool their skills into the jobs of tomorrow? That is, in a time of plenitude of jobs, it's sort of a "business as usual" posture, with (heaven forbid) another shakeout in roles, the likes we haven't seen since the Great Recession? Possibly.
But panning back into the widescreen, the reality- today- is that jobs of the future are continuing to grow.
Here are more highlights for the CJoF Index for Q3 2019:
The end of the third quarter saw the US unemployment rate reach its lowest point since December of 1969, while at the same time employers have continued to add more jobs (at an approximate rate of 161,000 per month in 2019) to the labor market, particularly in the ever expanding healthcare sector. This strong overall labor market is reflected in Cognizant's third quarter Jobs of the Future (CJoF) Index, which showed the demand for digitally enabled jobs expand at a faster rate over the year compared with a relatively flat Q2. (To read the full methodology for the CJoF Index, please click here)
This steady but moderate growth in the CJoF is a further indication of the current tight state of the labor market, where unemployment is largely frictional, while also providing evidence of the increasing demand for digitally enabled skills in the labor market.
The CJoF Index specifically tracks demand for 50 digitally enabled jobs of the future identified by Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work, capturing the quarterly fluctuations in postings for these jobs. In the third quarter, the CJoF Index rose by a moderate 12.8 percent over the year, from an index figure of 1.47 in Q3 2018 to 1.65 in Q3 2019. This was a deceleration from the over-the-year rise of 37 percent recorded in the CJoF Index in Q3 2018 (from 1.07 in Q3 2017).
The CJoF Index also posted stronger quarterly growth, with the overall index increasing by 10 percent, from 1.50 in Q2 to 1.65 in Q3. This follows an almost flat second quarter growth, with the CJoF rising by only 2 percent above Q1.
In addition to total job openings, the CJoF Index monitors trends in eight families of jobs of the future. These eight families are Algorithms, Automation and AI; Customer Experience; Environment; Fitness and Wellness; Healthcare; Legal and Financial Services; Transport; and Work Culture. After a strong first half of 2019, the third quarter saw continued moderate growth in most job families compared with the prior quarter. Several of the families, especially the Healthcare family, also posted robust growth compared with the third quarter of 2018.
Healthcare, Work Culture, Environmental, and Algorithms, Automation, & AI families passed Fitness and Wellness family, as the families with the fastest growth, year on year
The Healthcare family—which includes biostatisticians (+29 percent), biomedical equipment technicians (+16 percent), health technicians (+15 percent), biomedical engineers (+15 percent), registered nurses (+12 percent) and genetic counselors (+10 percent)—registered the faster over-the-year growth. Two occupations, physicians (+211 percent) and health information directors (+120 percent), realized exponential growth over the year. It is important to note that while these occupations experienced large percent increases, the absolute number of jobs added was relatively small, with physicians' postings up by 1,516 and health information directors up by an added 324 positions. Interestingly, the postings for physicians overall decreased by approximately 6.7 percent over the year whereas those for physicians with digitally enabled skills rose by 211 percent. Illustrated differently, the share of new physician postings requiring such skills increased from 0.7 percent of the total in Q3 2018 to 2.4 percent in Q3 2019.
The steady and continued growth in Healthcare jobs mirrors the rising demand for healthcare services as Baby Boomers continue to age. Currently, the healthcare sector is the largest employer in the United States, surpassing the retail sector last year. The healthcare sector also represents a large and growing portion of the US GDP, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicting that healthcare spending will account for nearly 20 percent of overall GDP by 2025. As the number of jobs in healthcare continue to grow, many of these new positions will require familiarity with the latest digital innovations in the field. As indicated by the large percent increase in postings for physicians and health information directors with digitally enabled skills, the shift includes implementing digital record keeping for healthcare management and the use of more sophisticated digital technology by practitioners to diagnose and treat patients.
The index growth for the Healthcare family surpassed that of the previous frontrunner, Fitness and Wellness, now placing fifth in over-the-year increases. The Work Culture family index registered the second highest over-the-year growth (+31 percent) in Q3, with increases in postings for all jobs in the family. Career counselors (+601 openings) experienced the largest numeric and percent increase over the year, followed by training and development specialists (+592 openings) and industrial-organization psychologists (+55 openings).
The Environmental family index registered the third highest over-the-year growth (+23 percent), with increases in postings for all jobs in the family, except solar engineers (-5 openings). The proxy job tidewater architect (+194 openings) posted the largest numeric gain over the year, demonstrating an increased focus on mitigating future climate change impacts to coastal urban areas.
After several fairly strong quarters of over-the-year growth, job openings in the Fitness and Wellness family advanced by a moderate 13 percent, from approximately 1,250 job postings in 3Q 2018 to more than 1,400 in 3Q 2019.
The Algorithms, Automation, and AI family maintained a steady 13 percent annual growth, improving from a relativity modest Q2 growth of 9 percent, but not reaching the high level of growth seen in Q1 of this year. This sustained growth illustrates that while the volume of postings within the family continues to expand, the rate of growth has stabilized.
The Transport and Customer Experience families maintained a similar level of modest over-the-year growth compared with the last quarter. The only family to see a contraction in the year-on-year postings growth was the Legal and Financial Services family. Both risk managers/analysts (-12 percent) and personal financial advisors (-29 percent) declined in postings compared with last year. The only occupation in this family to see over-the-year growth was attorneys (+21 percent).
Overall, the quickest growing job families in 3Q were the following:
Trailing behind in jobs growth were these families:
Compared with the third quarter of 2018, 40 of the 50 jobs covered in the CJoF Index realized an increase in openings. Ten occupations—technology consultants (-1,759 openings), personal financial advisors (-354 openings), risk manager/analysts (-345 openings), security/defense intelligence analysts (-207 openings), caregiver/personal care aides (-93 openings), sales engineers (-88 openings), chief information officers (-17 openings), urban/transportation planners (-13 openings), transportation supervisors, (-7 openings) and solar engineers (-5 openings)—registered over-the-year declines in the number of job openings in Q3. For the second quarter in a row, technology consultants saw the largest drop, in both percentage (-34 percent) and numeric (-1,759 openings) terms, going from approximately 5,100 openings in Q3 2018 to 3,300 in Q3 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 over the year in the third quarter of 2019 in the CJoF Index were:
Jobs that posted the largest percent decreases over the year in the CJoF Index in the period were:
While percent change shows the momentum growth in jobs, the numeric increase 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 37,455 in new postings over the year. This increase was followed by several other technology-focused positions, including business intelligence architects/developers (+3,148 openings), the proxy job cyber calamity forecasters (+1,595 openings) and physicians (+1,516 openings). While these job categories, with the exception of physicians, 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.
All proxy jobs, except fitness commitment counselors, landed into the top half of the index in numeric growth: cyber calamity forecasters (+1,595 openings), masters of edge computing (+289 openings), AR journey builders (+260 openings) and tidewater architects (+194 openings), further emphasizing the growth in data-driven hiring. In fact, of the ten jobs with the largest numeric change over the year, half are located in the Algorithm, Automation, and AI family.
Index registers over-the-quarter growth of 10 percent
Overall, the CJoF Index posted a relatively strong quarterly increase (+10 percent, the strongest quarterly growth since Q2 of 2018), rising from 1.50 in Q2 2019 to 1.65 in Q3 2019. The CJoF Index outperformed the All Burning Glass Jobs Index (+8 percent), increasing from 1.35 in Q2 2019 to 1.46 currently. The Proxy Job Index showed modest growth over the quarter with an increase of approximately 5 percent, increasing from 1.39 in Q2 2019 to 1.45 currently. The Burning Glass Jobs Index reflects all job openings in the US.
The Q3 increases were higher across all families when compared with their quarterly increases in Q2 of 2019, with the exception of the Environmental and Fitness and Wellness families, both of which saw small declines in quarterly jobs postings after leading the pack in quarterly growth in Q2 2019.
The Healthcare family realized the largest quarterly gain in job postings gain in Q3 (+21 percent), followed by Algorithms, Automation, and AI (+11 percent) and Work Culture (+9 percent). Three job families exhibited moderate growth over the quarter: Transport (+3 percent), Legal and Financial Services (+2 percent), and Customer Experience (+1 percent). After two quarters of decline, the Transport family saw its first quarter-on-quarter growth of 2019 (+3 percent).
The Environmental family, after six quarters of consecutive job quarterly growth, saw its first decrease (-1 percent) since Q4 2017. The Fitness and Wellness family also experienced a slight decrease in postings (-3 percent) compared with last quarter.
Please follow the progress of the CJoF Index each quarter
The Q3 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.