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Top Career Trends that Will Matter Most in 2019

Category: B2B News

The nature of work has been in a state of constant flux over the past decades. Automation, digital platforms, and other technological innovations are changing jobs and businesses alike. Understanding the most critical careers trends in the next 10 years can help employees and employers move forward.

We’ve gathered these essential career trends with the hope of helping you see how things more clearly in the world of work. This way, you can make better, more informed decisions for your career or for the career directions of your employees.

career trends to matter most

Tomorrow’s best jobs

The United States is undergoing one of the most unprecedented moments in its long history of industrial development. It now has one of the tightest labor markets ever and is experiencing a serious skills gap.

How tight? At present, more than 7 million jobs remain unfilled.

An analysis of these unfilled positions had helped identify some of the high-opportunity jobs that will emerge by 2024. Businesses that require these positions to be filled up are predicting the increasing impact of the job gap.

high-opportunity occupations

The American labor market is seeing an intensifying digitalization across all industries. Digitalization is commonly associated with high salaries and work adaptability amidst massive automation programs. It relates to extremely irregular trends for wages and job growth.

A major implication for this is that the acquisition of digital skills is becoming more and more requisite for career advancement.

On one hand, digitalization is elevating the US economy into higher levels, aside from creating new job opportunities. On the other hand, it will need considerable enhancements in school-based education and work-based training.

The continuing digitalization of the economy opens numerous opportunities for employers and employees alike. Here are the critical career trends that matter most in this age of global digitalization.

Technology skills now required in virtually every job

Over the past decades, technological advancements had transformed the very fabric of work and the global economy as a whole. The diffusion of digital technologies continues to permeate nearly all businesses and working individual.

In the US alone, the use of digital tools has increased in 517 out of 545 jobs since 2002. This group of 545 jobs represents 90% of the entire US economy.

Most of these involved significant changes in a broad range of lower-skilled jobs. Security guards, construction laborers and the like are now required to know some computer apps to perform their jobs.

Of course, not everybody should learn how to code or use AI. However, virtually almost everyone needs to know MS Word.

Moreover, they need to be able to log into a company’s employee monitoring platform.

What do employers look for in 2019?

From finance managers to executive assistants to utility workers, everyone spends most of their workdays using tools that need digital skills. The more digital a work position is, on balance the better it provides. Higher job digitalization also reduces overall job displacement.

Even the smallest firms nowadays are now driven by data, especially those in the gig economy. Now is a good time to learn skills like light coding and data analytics. Jobs responsibilities that require these skills are gradually increasing.

In the grand scheme of things, companies are increasingly valuing skills over experience. Top global companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple had shifted looking at college degrees and began focusing on the skills that a potential new hire may bring.

What are the most in-demand hard skills of 2019?

There are now around 50,000 professional skills across the world. For 2019, the most in-demand hard skills are cloud computing, AI, analytical reasoning, people management, and UX design.

Digital skills like cloud computing and artificial intelligence are very in-demand nowadays. These two are expected to top the list as most businesses are shifting to the cloud due to the vast benefits it brings. The business use of AI, likewise, is accelerating further.

The entry of people management, UX design, and analytical reasoning among the most in-demand skills offers many implications. On the one hand, this indicates that businesses are recognizing the critical value of embracing modern technologies. This includes the significant use of applications like efficient learning management platforms for employee training purposes.

On the other hand, it also suggests that people are acknowledging things that some things are best done by people. These include adapting quickly to new problems or priorities, engaging in out-of-the-box thinking, and connecting with other people.

Representative occupations and their digitalization levels

United States Workforce

Blue = High | Red = Medium | Orange = Low

Software Developers, Applications

Computer Systems Analysts

Financial Managers


Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Registered Nurses

Security Guards

Construction Laborers

Personal Care Aides

Source: Brookings analysis of O*NET and OES data 2017

Designed by

Technology skills trends highlights

  • Virtually every job today has some level of technology-related skills required.
  • The more a job is digitalized, the lower is the possibility of it being replaced.
  • Employers now set aside education and are focusing on whether candidates’ skills match the job requirements.

Low unemployment rate increases workers’ value

For the past 40 years, the US unemployment rate falls to its lowest last July 2019, at 3.7%. Since 2010, unemployment had been falling continuously. Last year, it was also less than 4%.

What does a low unemployment rate mean? For workers, that’s great news because it will increase worker market value.

Workers can expect businesses offering higher pay, better training, and job flexibility. Some companies will even use unconventional methods just to capture new recruits.

Overall wage levels were also at the highest last mid-2018. If the economy continues to boom, wages, in general, will also continue to rise.

Businesses should proactively motivate their employees to stay with them by providing salary increases and other non-monetary perks. If they fail to do so and remain complacent, competing headhunters may lure them through better offers.

What does low unemployment mean to employers?

While having lesser job openings generally indicate a vibrant economy, it’s not entirely good for businesses. It’s just a simple case of demand and supply. When unemployment is so low, the supply of skilled workers becomes scarce, which makes them a valuable resource.

Thus, low unemployment can make hiring more difficult. Businesses need skilled workers to capitalize on strong market demand. But they can’t address this demand on their own, they need others to help them. They require the help of employees to grow their business.

Especially in competitive markets, finding available candidates who want to work for you may become harder. It becomes more challenging to entice potential hires when they’re in the position to made demands. So always be prepared to offer competitive offers.

In whatever job market scenario you’re in, finding and hiring candidates are best done using a trusty applicant tracking software. So make sure you always have one for your manpower needs.

US Unemployment Rates 2009 to 2019 line graph

Low unemployment trends highlights

  • The US unemployment rate is at its lowest for 2019.
  • Low unemployment naturally boosts compensation which helps prevent employee transfers.
  • Ensure that you offer competitive compensation to win new hires.

Mismatches in jobs, skills, and locations

One of the biggest gaps today is the widening disconnect between the academe and industry. This is generating a host of problems for both employees and employers.

The primary factors that drive skills mismatches are low-quality education and systems. Other factors include newly created forms of work organization, new sources of job creation, rapid technological development, and demographic change.

There were gaps in technical skills between available jobs and the skills of applicants. These include soft skills like teamwork and communication as well as STEM subject degrees like physics and statistics.

Conversely, even those in work may not be realizing their potential. A global survey found that 37% of job seekers reported that their existing work underutilizes their skills.

Locational mismatchings geography also exist. In fact, several geography-based structural mismatches in many areas were found in the US. These places have high work demand but with low availability of qualified workers. The same case is happening in many places worldwide.

Adverse effects of these mismatches

Traditionally, education systems are expected to be at the forefront of change. But the past decades’ accelerated pace of technological innovations had left the educational sector far behind.

As a result, we have a job market teeming with college graduates but without in-demand skills. Consequently, many employers are reporting that they cannot hire enough employees who have the right skills.

Job-skills mismatch occurs due to many structural inconsistencies. But whatever the cause, these mismatch creates adverse effects on economic growth, competitiveness, workers’ productivity, and labor market outcomes.

causes of skills mismatches

Job mismatches trends highlights

  • The gap between worker skills and available jobs continue to mismatch.
  • Low education quality causes the most adverse effect on such gap.
  • Structural defects should be corrected to address this employment issue.

Many jobs have high automation potential

The volume of jobs that can be completely automated with existing technology is below 5%. However, 30% of around half of all jobs today can be automated.

This indicates that major automation across all job types is something inevitable. And that workers have no other choice except to coexist with this technological change.

As technology advances and gain more sophisticated performance capacities that level with or surpass the human capacities, automation adoption will further increase.

How will automation affect employment?

A number of jobs will contract, while other occupations will swell. The time apportioned for each job will also be affected. This is among the career trends for the next 10 years both employees and employers must focus on.

Many types of activities in industry sectors have the technical potential to be automated, but that potential varies significantly across activities. From managing others (9%) and applying expertise (18%) to predictable physical work (78%), automation will affect jobs in varying degrees.

To succeed in this environment, employers must address a number of challenges. These include solving internal mismatches, offering efficient staff onboarding, and providing key skills training.

Automation is a serious activity that requires important considerations. Employers should carefully study these things before automating:

  • Technical feasibility
  • Development and deployment costs
  • Labor supply-and-demand dynamics
  • Non-labor related benefits (e.g., higher output levels, lesser mistakes, etc.)
  • Social and regulatory issues

Technical Potential for Automation in the U.S.

Overall averages

Predictable physical work


Data processing


Data collection


Unpredictable physical work


Stakeholder interactions


Applying expertise


Managing others


Source: McKinsey Global Institute's The Future of Work in America 2019

Designed by

Job automation trends highlights

  • Automation is inevitable and its impact is far-reaching.
  • It offers both positive and negative effects on jobs and businesses.
  • A number of considerations should be first addressed to succeed in automation.

Social media activity is now a hiring factor

If you think your professional career and social media life aren’t related, think again. Employers today actually use social media profiles as part of the screening process.

Simply put, your social media activities could enhance or worsen your chances to get a job or succeed in your current employment. It’s better to always stay on the safe side by maintaining a professional profile.

A 2018 career survey found that during the hiring process, 70% of employers use social media for screening job candidates. Around 43% of businesses use social media to check on current employees, while 34% have reprimanded or fired an employee because of adverse social media posts.

Social media, like many people, is used by executives for a wide range of purposes. However, most of them are check social profiles to ensure that a potential hire will be a good fit with their organization.

How is social media used for hiring?

More and more employers are using social media for background checks on applicants and current employees. Unfortunately, they typically look for dirt more than positive things. 

You should anticipate employers to check your social media profiles. If you’re fond of doing careless things online, don’t expect any sane employer to hire you.

Yes, skilled workers are valuable in this market. But employers have no choice but to adhere to their responsibility to the organization. And one of these is to only include people whose values and personalities align with their mission and vision.

Don’t plan, however, to delete your profiles. This is because most employers think that one’s absence means something unscrupulous is being hidden from view.

With the number of social media users around 3.5 billion, it pays to think twice before you click. A seemingly innocent click might cause your career.

If you’re an employer, it’s best to make your social media usage be at optimal levels. You do so by using efficient social media management solutions.

Hiring Candidate Social Media Implications to Employers charts

Social media activity trends highlights

  • Majority of employers hire or fire employees because of social media.
  • You should use your social media account to your advantage.
  • Always maintain a clean social media profile.

Soft skills surpass hard skills in importance

People study to earn degrees because college/university diplomas are crucial to starting careers. Educational systems had always focused on hard skills like science, math, and languages.

Soft skills like working in a team, punctuality, and communication had also been important. They’ve long considered only as secondary to hard skills. Such a status quo, however, is changing. Soft skills are becoming more vital nowadays.

What caused this change? Well, you guessed it right–automation, AI, and similar technologies are creating actual business cases that hard skills per se are no longer enough. On the other hand, soft skills make up for this void.

This is why 91 of talent professionals agree that soft skills will be crucial to recruiting and HR. As several hard skills are diminishing, many soft skills main relevant. One programming language can be outdated, but problem-solving and work ethic will always be important.

Creativity is crucial in this age of automation

If there’s one soft skill that’s very vital in today’s market environment, it’s the creativity to win sophisticated consumers and succeed over competitors. However, creativity is the most in-demand soft skill but is now in limited supply

Defined as the act of making new and innovative concepts into reality, creativity is one skill that can be applied to any job or function.

Creative individuals are capable of seeing things in new ways and finding unseen patterns. They’re also able to make connections between unrelated things and frame workable solutions to problems. In other words, these are capabilities that machines can’t easily duplicate.

Industry pundits predict that as automation continues to transform the business world, the demand for creativity will rise significantly by 2030. This prediction is true for most soft skills that even the most sophisticated AI can’t replicate.

LinkedIn 2019 Global Talent Trends results

Soft skills trends highlights

  • Soft skills are becoming more important, even surpassing several hard skills.
  • AI and automation are behind the continuing demise of many hard skills.
  • Creativity is the most sought-after soft skill today. This will be the case for many years to come.

Digitally-enabled independent work gains more ground

Many people had long been working independently since the dawn of time. But in today’s world, independent work is quickly evolving due to the vast support it gets from digital technologies.

Today, around 162 million–or 20%-30% of the working-age population–in the EU and the US are engaged in independent work. Slightly over half of these gig workers support their regular income sources. These individuals have conventional work or are still studying or already retired.

The majority (70%) of these gig workers had chosen to pursue this career. The remaining (30%) opted to work as such due to reasons like difficulty to find a job or to supplement their earnings.

What’s fueling the growth of the gig economy?

New technologies like collaboration apps are among the factors that boost the gig economy. Benefits to employer-clients like cheaper overhead and limited liabilities also contribute to this trend.

Another reason is the fast growth of independent work done through digital freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and UpWork.

Keys to the continuous expansion of these “on-demand economy” are its ease of use, efficiency, and scale.

At present, only 15% of the overall gig workers use these online marketplaces. But with the continuing rise of freelancers worldwide, this number will likely expand more soon.

Other factors that are expected to continue fuelling the growth of the gig economy include:

  • The intensifying need among traditional workers for independence
  • The considerable number of inactive and unemployed individuals who want to work
  • The growing demand for independent services from both businesses and consumers.

The Gig Economy Survey 2019

Independent work trends highlights

  • The gig economy will continue to expand further.
  • Various technological and business factors are fueling independent workers’ continuous growth.
  • Online freelance platforms play a key role in the gig economy.

Technology creates new jobs and income possibilities

The dawn of industrial automation had brought mostly negative impressions from workers. This is because they mostly view automation as a powerful excuse to replace people with robots.

That’s just but a normal reaction to this so-called impending “rise of the robots.”

The bigger, more discerning picture says otherwise: while technologies replace several positions, they’re actually generating new jobs that were previously unthinkable. Technology, in fact, is also helping to create new ways to earn money.

Over the past 25 years, around 30% of new jobs created in the US were those that were almost non-existent or totally didn’t exist. These new jobs that technology had given mankind include IT systems management, app creation, hardware manufacturing, and IT development.

How technology creates new jobs?

New jobs will emerge because dynamic entrepreneurs continue finding ways to optimize the power of technology. In fact, the net effect of new technologies on jobs can be substantially positive.

When technology deletes some jobs, they will also create new ones elsewhere.

For instance, for the past 15 years, the Internet had erased around 500,000 jobs in France. But in the same period, the Internet had generated 1.2 million new jobs! That’s a net creation of 2.4 new jobs for each one wiped out.

The expanding use of big data in business will push the need for more data analysts and statisticians. In the US, this will mean a shortage of around 250,000 data scientists.

net impact of new technologies

Technology new job creation trends highlights

  • New technologies produce more jobs than those it destroys.
  • The new jobs created were either partially existing or totally non-existent.
  • As technology further advances, more new classes of jobs will be created.

How can these career trends help you?

For employees, these career trends clearly indicate several key considerations to take note of. For employers, these trends offer a number of critical challenges to address.

  • The rising need for technology skills should push employees to regularly upgrade their technological know-how.
  • Workers should take advantage of the current low unemployment. They should never become complacent to remain competitive in the market.
  • Businesses should start initiatives to help solve current job mismatches.
  • Businesses should embrace automation with enthusiasm and caution to optimize its effects.
  • Employees–and everybody else, for good measure–should always maintain a professional, wholesome social profile.
  • Workers must focus more on upgrading their soft skills to remain relevant to their jobs.
  • The gig economy will continue to grow more, so everyone should consider how to take advantage of it.
  • The correct mindset, really, is to find ways on how to use technology to create jobs, not otherwise.

We hope that these career trends offers you some great, workable insights for improving your current career direction.

In case you’re an employer seeking to further improve your employee management practices, it’s best to use a robust HR software solution. This will help ensure you’re on top of your employees’ productivity and their future growth.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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