2018 trends – what’s next?

What does 2018 hold in store and what skills will be in demand? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/2018-trends-whats-next-marie-langan/ 

With another year over and a new one about to begin, I’ve been looking at online predictions of the key jobs and career trends for 2018 on both sides of the Atlantic, and perhaps even globally. At least two jobs are secure for 2018 – we found out this week that in the final of the UK’s The Apprentice show, both candidates were hired, although their business ideas are nothing new – an online sweet shop and a recruitment firm.

According to UK magazine Marketing Week, 2018 will be defined by eight key business trends, including an uncertain economy and the stringent requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR”) which come into effect in Europe in May 2018 (regardless of Brexit, the UK will need to comply). There are mentions also for wellbeing in the workplace and the need for the marketing industry to update gender stereotypes. Marketing is really coming into its own as a foundation for wider business development and strategy – no longer a “nice to have” department, but a genuine “must have”.

US business magazine Forbes focusses on technology and presents research company Gartner’s predictions for 2018 on its website. An infographic describes the top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 - this time next year, we may all be familiar with “event thinking”, Blockchain, CARTA, “augmented reality”, “cloud to the edge” and “conversational platforms”. Not that everyone needs to switch careers to the technology sector, but if you fancy a career change, or know someone starting out and looking at potential careers, then artificial intelligence (“AI”) clearly represents a huge opportunity for those with curiosity and creativity. CIOs are becoming more influential and more responsible for business strategy than ever before. Like the marketing department, the IT department is stepping out of its support role onto centre stage. Among the predictions is a significant amount of disruption in IT job numbers and careers: “In 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3M jobs while eliminating only 1.8M jobs. Global IT services firms will have massive job churn in 2018, adding 100,000 jobs and dropping 80,000.” Forbes’ own business trends infographic is also worth reading here.

The Information Age’s predictions address the cybersecurity opportunities that are already outstripping supply and will continue to do so thanks in part to developments like GDPR. The shortfall in cyber skills will drive up salaries that workers in this area will be able to command. The significant skills gap will need to be filled by employees without the traditional computing background, simply because sufficient experienced candidates will not be available - companies and governments are going to need to develop the talent needed. Solutions to the shortfall also include outsourcing and increased opportunities for women in the cybersecurity sector. Some industries are ahead of the curve and are automating processes wherever they can. For those that are dragging their heels and not investing sufficiently in automation, the problem will get more severe as expertise gets thinner on the ground. However, when it comes to cybersecurity not all risks can be removed by technological means – so-called “social engineering” tactics rely on humans divulging enough details online to allow fraudsters in. Companies will need to invest in training and awareness to mitigate the risks represented by social engineering. Step forward if you have teaching and governance skills!

So what are the fastest growing occupations? According to UK recruiter Hays human skills will be as important as cyber and tech skills, as the large change management projects in scope for 2018 demand project management capabilities beyond those of a robot. In the US, the two fastest growing occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are in alternative energy – solar and wind energy respectively. And looking even further ahead, the US Bureau predicts the top jobs for Bachelor and Masters degree graduates in 2022 here: a variety of healthcare-related occupations feature especially in the Masters graduate list, from mental health counsellors to speech-language pathologists. The most recent Occupational Outlook Handbook (“OOH”) offers detailed information on over 500 different occupations. It’s a good source of information about job types if you are interested in switching or starting careers. If you are interested in becoming a psychologist, for example, you can visit the OOH website to get information on what psychologists do, how much they earn, the work environment, educational requirements and the career outlook.

For global management consultants McKinsey’s longer-term view on the future of work, skills and wages, see this post from November 2017. How will you know if you are ready for the future of work? Easy - take their quiz.

Finally, if entrepreneurship is your bag, and you don’t mind a painful and very public interview process, there’s always the UK’s 2018 Apprentice show - applications are welcome here and close in January.

Whatever you choose, do your research, build a network and keep your options open. As they say in reality TV, “the mind is like a parachute – it works best when it’s open”. That one’s from this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, once more demonstrating the power of the coaching content in the UK reality show genre!

Happy Holidays!