When the Center for the Future of Work first published our landmark report “21 Jobs of the Future” a couple years ago, we talked about “the three Cs” that served as connective tissue for all the jobs: Coaching, Connecting, and Caring. Each of these Cs was also about one thing: fostering human-to-human interactions as a principle and purpose of work.
As we enter 2020, those precepts for the future of jobs appear in full swing, especially as jobs spike in just about every category of the economy. The evidence shows up in the latest Cognizant Jobs of the Future Index for Q4 2019. And to put a fine point on things: take a look at the jump in jobs related to fitness and wellness, especially for Home Health Aides and Caregivers / Personal Care Aides. Each has skyrocketed as the digitally-enabled demand by humans, for humans takes off.
At the same time, we’ve just published our First Annual Review of the CJoF Index. And this widescreen view couldn’t be clearer: The widely held view that AI and automation are causing a jobs apocalypse is a mirage.
Here are more highlights for the CJoF Index for Q4 2019:
2019 was a booming year for the US labor market: unemployment hit a 50-year low, employers continued to add more jobs faster than job seekers could fill them, and wage growth—while still sluggish—is at its strongest level within the current economic expansion. Reflecting the robust overall labor market, the Cognizant Jobs of the Future (CJoF) Index, which tracks quarterly postings for digitally enabled jobs, registered one of the highest quarterly and year-over-year growth rates since the start of the index in the fourth quarter of 2016. The strong and steady growth of the CJoF Index serves as another indicator of the current tight state of the labor market, where the unemployment rate remains low (3.5 percent) and additional people continue to return to the labor force. The index also provides a helpful context to understand the changing nature of work, as more jobs traditionally not associated with technology, like home health aides and behavioral therapists, now require some digitally enabled skills.
The CJoF Index 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 fourth quarter of 2019, the CJoF Index rose by a strong 30.7 percent over the year, from an index figure of 1.45 in Q4 2018 to 1.89 in Q4 2019. The fourth quarter’s year-on-year growth nearly matched the 31.6 percent recorded in the CJoF Index in Q1 2019, bookending 2019 with two high growth rates at the start and end of the year.
The CJoF Index also posted firm quarterly growth, with the overall index increasing 14.3 percent, from 1.65 in Q3 to 1.89 in Q4. This is the fastest quarterly growth for the index since Q2 of 2018. This quarter is also the second quarter in a row in which the CJoF Index growth surpassed the All Burning Glass Jobs Index, showing that these 50 digitally enabled jobs are outpacing the postings growth of all jobs available in the labor market.
In addition to total job openings, the CJoF Index monitors trends in eight families of jobs of the future, all of which saw over-the-year and quarterly growth in Q4 2019. These eight families are Algorithms, Automation and AI; Customer Experience; Environment; Fitness and Wellness; Healthcare; Legal and Financial Services; Transport; and Work Culture. Even after moderate to strong expansion throughout the year, the fourth quarter saw continued robust growth in all job families compared with the prior quarter. The Fitness and Wellness job family, after experiencing a slight quarterly decline in Q3 2019, registered the highest quarterly growth this quarter and is now the job family with the highest index score, at 5.86.
The Fitness and Wellness and Healthcare Job families experience the fastest over-the-year postings growth in Q4 2019
The Fitness and Wellness family, thanks to especially strong growth in the Caregiver/Personal Care Aide (+526 percent) and Home Health Aide (+449 percent) job postings, recorded a dramatic year-over-year growth rate of 253 percent. This considerable growth reflects the overall labor market demand for these types of jobs as the population of the US continues to age, requiring more assistance to accomplish tasks of daily living. These sorts of services are becoming more popular for older Americans because having a personal care or home health aide allows people to remain relatively independent in their homes for longer periods, without having to relocate to a nursing home or similar facility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that both of these jobs will continue to grow significantly faster than all other occupations over the next decade.
As the number of jobs related to fitness and wellness continue to expand, many will require familiarity with the latest digital technology innovations in the field, including remote monitoring and improvements to digital interoperability. This will allow caregivers and related agencies to obtain and maintain easily accessible information on the different needs of the people using their services.
The two other occupations in this family, Family/Behavioral Therapists (+37 percent) and the proxy job Fitness Commitment Counselor (+23 percent), also saw firm albeit less dynamic year-over-year growth compared with the rest of the family. Yet despite the dramatic growth in postings in the Fitness and Wellness family overall this quarter, it only represents 0.8 percent of the overall CJoF Index, or slightly more than 3,800 total postings compared with the total CJoF Index postings count of 496,000. The Algorithms, Automation, and AI (AAA) family retains the largest share of the index.
Similar to the jobs in the Fitness and Wellness family, Healthcare jobs continue to experience a steady and consistent rise in the number of postings. Trends in healthcare mirror similar trends to the Home Health Aide and Caregiver/Personal Care Aides as the demand for various healthcare services continue to increase in line with the aging of the population. Since the beginning of 2018, the healthcare sector has maintained its position as the largest source of employment in the US, surpassing the retail sector. According to Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), the healthcare sector has also managed to weather the past three recessions without shedding the number of employees in the industry.
Four other families had year-over-year growth rates above 20 percent: Transport (+42 percent), Legal and Financial Services (+35 percent), AAA (+31 percent), and Work Culture (+27 percent). Only two families had year-over-year growth of less than 20 percent: Environmental (+19 percent) and Customer Experience (+16 percent).
This sustained and hardy growth illustrates that the demand for digitally enabled skills continues to expand as technology becomes a more important part of our lives. The fastest growing job families in Q4 were the following:
Fitness and Wellness (+253 percent)
Healthcare (+49 percent)
Transport (+42 percent)
The families with strong but more moderate growth were:
Legal and Financial Services (+35 percent)
AAA (+31 percent)
Work Culture (+27 percent)
Only two families registered growth below 20 percent over the year:
Environmental (+19 percent)
Customer Experience (+16 percent)
Which jobs grew the most over the year?
Of the top ten fastest growing jobs, the top two were in the Fitness and Wellness Family (Caregiver/Personal Care Aide and Home Health Aide), four were in the Healthcare family (Physician, Health Information Manager/Director, Genetic Counselor, and Biomedical Equipment Technician), and the remaining four were in the Work Culture, Environmental, Legal and Financial Services, or Transport families. Despite representing a majority of the index, the AAA family in Q4 did not have a single job category in the top ten fast growing jobs. The fastest AAA family job was Technology Consultant at 54 percent, following several quarters of consecutive decline.
The Work Culture and Environmental families were the only job families containing a job that recorded a decline in year-over-year postings. In Work Culture, the Industrial-Organizational Psychologist postings declined by nearly 26 percent. Alternative Energy Managers, in the Environmental family, also declined by 19 percent year-over-year.
The fastest growing jobs over the year in Q4 of 2019 in the CJoF Index were:
- Caregiver / Personal Care Aide (+526 percent)
- Home Health Aide (+449 percent)
- Career Counselor (+277 percent)
- Physician (+146 percent)
- Solar Installer (+78 percent)
Jobs that posted the slowest percent increases over the year in the CJoF Index in Q4 2019 were:
- Biomedical Engineer (+7 percent)
- Surveillance Officer/Investigator (+7 percent)
- AR Journey Builder (+5 percent)
- Attorney (+4 percent)
- Social Media Strategist / Specialist (+3 percent)
Only two jobs posted negative growth over the year in Q4 2019:
- Industrial-Organizational Psychologist (-26 percent)
- Alternative Energy Manager (-19 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 another quarter of impressive additional over-the-year postings at nearly 70,000 new postings since Q4 of 2018. This increase was followed by several other AAA family jobs, including Cyber/Information Security Engineer/Analyst (+6,482 openings), Business Intelligence Architect/Developer (+6,482 openings), and two proxy jobs (also part of the AAA family): Cyber Calamity Forecasters (+6,082 openings) and Master of Edge Computing (+2,654 openings). While these job categories did not chalk up the fastest growth in percentage terms, the large numeric increases underscore the ongoing search among employers for technical talent as they accelerate their data analytics capabilities.
All of the other proxy jobs landed in the bottom half of the index in numeric growth this quarter, with Tidewater Architect (+193 openings), AR Journey Builder (+117 openings), and Fitness Commitment Counselor (+101 openings) adding less than 200 jobs over the past year.
CJoF Index registers over-the-quarter growth of 14 percent
Overall, the CJoF Index posted a relatively strong and sustained quarterly increase (+14 percent), rising from 1.65 in Q3 2019 to 1.89 in Q4 2019. The CJoF Index outperformed the All Burning Glass Jobs Index (+13 percent) for the second quarter in a row, increasing from 1.46 in Q2 2019. The Proxy Job Index also showed continued growth in quarter-on-quarter terms, with an increase of approximately 13 percent; this was especially robust compared with the last quarter, when it increased by a modest 5 percent. The Proxy Job Index rose from 1.45 in Q3 to 1.64 in Q4. For the past several quarters, the Proxy Job Index and the All Burning Glass Index have slowly converged as the Proxy Jobs became more representative of actual jobs in the labor market.
All of the job families experienced quarter-on-quarter increases. The last time all of the families had a simultaneous quarterly increase was in Q2 of 2018. The Fitness and Wellness family had the highest percent growth ever captured by the Index at +169 percent, while the AAA family had the highest numerical change in job postings at nearly 49,000 new job postings this quarter.
After Fitness and Wellness, the Legal and Financial Services family realized the largest quarterly gain in job postings in Q4 (+50 percent), followed by the Transport family (+49 percent). The Customer Experience (+16 percent), Healthcare (+15 percent),andAAA(+13 percent) families all had more moderate growth, while only two families, Environmental (+6 percent) and Work Culture (+2 percent), registered growth of less than 10 percent.
Please follow the progress of the CJoF Index each quarter
The Q4 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.