As we come into a new decade and out of the worst recession in living memory, young job seekers need to consider how their current career decisions will look in another ten years says Search.co.uk.
This means doing more than simply finding the right employer. Never has it been clearer that the “jobs for life” culture doesn't exist any more, explains Peter Gillespie, Managing Director of Search.co.uk, the leading jobs website.
“Many jobs which seemed rock solid ten years ago have disappeared. Who would have thought, for instance, that working for a Scottish bank could turn out to be a risky business?
“But rapid change in employment is now a fact of life. What job seekers have to consider is how they can develop the skills to help them to adapt and even benefit from regular career moves,” says Gillespie.
It is impossible to predict precisely which skills will be in demand at the end of the decade. But there are patterns which have continued for many years.
There have not, for instance, been enough school leavers going into technical education and training which has created a skills shortage in the oil industry in Aberdeen and Dundee. Okay, it is possible that environmental concerns will reduce employment prospects in the oil business, but higher-level technical skills can be transferred to other industries, for instance developing renewable energy sources.
“It is these adaptable skills that young job seekers need to develop,” says Gillespie. “For example at Search.co.uk we're hearing from a growing number of employers who are seeking recruits with language skills. This demand can only grow as the economy becomes increasingly global.”
Employers also say it can be difficult to find applicants with so-called “soft skills” such as customer handling, planning and organising and problem-solving. Employees with these abilities are the ones who can benefit from on-going training so they can develop their skills to match the requirements of the organisation.
For many people higher education will be the best way to “learn to learn” new skills. Some strictly vocational training creates inflexible workers who get left behind the pace of change.
But Gillespie stresses that a degree isn't the only path for job seekers. “It is impossible to predict exactly what skills and qualifications will be required by employers offering jobs in Scotland in 2020. But I bet there'll still be shortages of plumbers, electricians and other qualified trades people. Those with the right qualifications will be making a very comfortable living.”