The first quarter of every year sees the conclave of Davos in Switzerland. Growing more central to the debate each year is the future of work. While it’s true that the future of work is always “in the future”, it’s very, very handy to have an empirical guidepost to track its progress, especially when decisions of great consequence in global geopolitics and socioeconomics are afoot.
Here are the highlights for the CJoF Index for Q4 2018:
Tracking demand 50 jobs of the future, based on real US job openings sourced from Burning Glass by our analytical partners at ESI ThoughtLab, the latest CJoF Index reveals that the job openings soared by 68% in 2018, with the index moving from 0.86 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 1.45 in the fourth quarter of 2018. (To read the full methodology for the CJoF Index, please click here)
It should be noted that the Index declined from 1.47 in the third quarter of 2018. In our analysis this reflects the seasonal nature of job hiring- the previous fourth quarters of the Index also demonstrating the same trend, of a slight slowdown in job postings and new employee on-boarding.
Jobs in Work Culture lead the way in 2018
The fastest growing job family of the past year was Work Culture, which more than doubled (105%) over the last year and 5% over the previous quarter. This rapid rise, from an index of .85 in Q4 2017 to 1.74 in Q4 of 2018, reflects the growing need for work culture specialists with the skills to help people adapt to the rigors of a new way of working, and includes roles like training and development specialists, career counselors, and industrial organizational psychologists.
Following closely, the Customer Experience family of jobs grew by 99% over 2018. This was led by burgeoning customer-facing jobs working with social media, augmented reality, and user interface or experience.
Other standouts include Fitness and Wellness (with a 74% increase in 2018). As this sector embraces tech-enabled solutions, from fitness apps to wireless glucose monitors, the demand for digitally savvy fitness counselors, behavioral therapists, and personal caregivers is swelling. Legal and Financial Services also saw openings grow by 71% in 2018.
The largest CJoF job family, Algorithms, Automation and AI, which includes Masters of Edge Computing, Robotics Engineers, and Cyber Calamity Forecasters climbed by 66% in 2018. Rounding out the growth picture was the infrastructure-focused set of job families: Environmental rose by 64% over the year, and Transport increased by 61% in 2018.
The slowest growing family of jobs was Health Care, which grew by 38%, with the total number of digitally-enabled openings rising from 6,500 in Q4 2017 to 8,900 in Q4 2018. The slower rise in health care openings was partly due to escalating financial pressures in the industry and uncertainty related to US health care policy.
Rising and falling jobs in 2018
The index also reveals some leaders and laggards within job families. Over the past year, the fastest growing jobs in the CJoF Index were:
- Fashion Designer: +279%
- Solar Engineer: +257%
- Career Counselor: +181%
- Social Media Strategist / Specialist: +172%
- Genetic Counselor: +163%
The slowest growing jobs in the CJoF Index over the past year were:
- Registered Nurse: +7%
- Biomedical Engineer: +10%
- Solar Installer: +12%
- Home Health Aide: +18%
- Aerospace Engineer: +27%
The categories showing the most growth in the actual number of openings include Software Developer/Engineer, which grew by nearly 84,000 openings from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018; Cyber/Information Security Engineer/Analyst (up by almost 12,000 openings); Cyber Calamity Forecaster (up by 8,300 openings); and UI/UX Designer/Developer (up by almost 6,800). The employment growth in these areas reflects the greater demand for people with the software, cybersecurity, and digital design to drive companies’ digital future.
Overall quarter-on-quarter job openings declined
Although annual growth was very robust, on a quarter-on-quarter basis performance was wobbly. There was a slight decrease in the number of new job postings, with the index falling by 1.3% between Q3 2018 and Q4 2018. This can be partly attributed to some seasonal end-of-year slowdowns in job creation, but it also indicates that employers filled more jobs than usual earlier in the year. Most of the decline is related to fewer job postings in the Algorithms, Automation and AI (AAA) family, which is the largest job family in the index.
Nonetheless, fourth-quarter performance was a significant improvement over that of the same quarters of 2016 (-16.8% quarter on quarter) and of 2017 (-19%). In 2018, six of the eight families of jobs posted more openings during the fourth quarter over the prior quarter, compared with across-the-board declines for all families in the fourth quarters of 2016 and 2017.
Quarterly performance by job category is mixed
Similarly, performance by specific jobs was also mixed. Some of the year’s fastest growing categories in terms of year-to-year growth – such as Software Developer and Cyber Calamity Forecaster – posted a decline in job openings from the third quarter. This likely reflects typical end-of-year slowdowns for these categories, with hiring happening earlier in the year. By contrast, some of the more traditional jobs – Business Development/Sales Manager and Attorney – stand out as star performers in this quarter. As digital transformation extends across corporate functions, employers are accelerating the digital enablement of job categories not previously associated with technology.
Please follow the progress of the CJoF Index each quarter
The Q4 2018 CJoF Index represents its second installment, and 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.