Talent issue: LinkedIn’s data and my opinion

talent-issue-linkedins-data-and-my-opinion

Talent issue: LinkedIn’s data and my opinion. Last night an old friend called me and asked for advice about his son’s education choices. He asked for the most future-proof education! This is my answer to him, this very blog post.

Talent issue: LinkedIn’s data and my opinion

I was writing about the Talent surveys of Capgemini and Linkedin, some time ago, and recently I was browsing through Entrepreneur’s many articles on jobs and professions. Data scientists, technology (hype) related etc.

Then I found a LinkedIn list for the most promising jobs (the list highlights the jobs with high median salaries and the top 5 skills associated with each – to view the full list of top-20 most promising jobs in the U.S. head over to LinkedIn Jobs blog, or visit the most in-demand skills of 2018 to help you get an idea of what companies are looking for):

  • Engagement Lead – median base: $93,000 – job openings YoY (year over year) Growth: 425% – top skills: Management, Leadership, Project Management, Strategy, Communication
  • Software Engineering Manager – median total salary: $148,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 38% – top skills: Software Development, Agile Methodologies, Management, Java, SQL
  • Customer Success Manager -median total salary: $82,300 – job openings YoY Growth: 91% – top skills: Management, Sales, Customer Service, Leadership, Customer Relationship Management
  • Solutions Architect – median total salary: $134,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 28% – top skills: Management, Integration, Solution Architecture, Design, Project Management
  • Sales Director – median base salary: $145,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 31% – top skills: Sales, Management, Business Development, Account Management, Marketing
  • Engineering Manager – median base salary: $130,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 42% – top skills: Engineering, Project Management, Management, Manufacturing, Design
  • Program Manager – median base salary: $100,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 25% – top skills: Management, Project Management, Program Management, Leadership, Training
  • Product Manager – median base salary: $105,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 30% – top skills: Management, Product Management, Program Management, Marketing, Product Development
  • Data Scientist – median base salary: $113,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 45% – top skills: Python, Data Analysis, Machine Learning, SQL, Statistics
  • Enterprise Account Manager – median base salary: $180,000 – job openings YoY Growth: 74% – top skills: Sales, Management, Account Management, Solution Selling, Business Development

A discussion with a friend-dad

Last night an old friend called me and asked for advice about his son’s education choices. He asked for the most future-proof education. I listened but I my answer was “I’ll get back to you!”

I know that career orientation consultancies are now booming (they charge €500 for 2-3 meetings and an online profile test). But they actually bring no value to the worried parents and the kid. They have the same tendency that my friend has: tell me now, what do you think should be our future-proof career/studies choice. This is not enough for a career that will span across 40 years with 7-8 different professions and changes.

There’s no recipe for instant success! Why? Because in the career/learning/profession orientation there are hundreds of mixing and influential factors. Let’s see some of these.

First: a significant skills gap

While we push Talent to learn the hard skills and be technically equipped in what they study, there’s no career planning in school, in university, in the family, in their personal life to plan for the soft skills. Listening, coordinating, tolerating, adaptive and flexible. Managing teams, leading projects etc.

The ‘well-fed’ Western societies’ kids are offered with lots of luxuries and ‘amenities’, being at risk to lose their fighting mode. Then the protective family model is still reigning the personality development. But we should focus on the soft skills. since they are the only pillars to change and evolve careers and different professional ‘jumps’.

Only soft skills can grant a competitive advantage and generate value as humans and as companies. And it must be mapped within specific individual contexts, in view of professional markets. Companies know they have, anytime, the MBAers in line. They miss the right attitude… (when it’s not an excuse).

Second: studies’ investment -without a plan- is a waste

All degrees and MBAs are often the prices of entry to certain jobs. But an MBA -in an unguided career and personal plan- can’t guarantee success. They don’t hire the MBA title, but You! Anyone can achieve many things without it. Many don’t have one. How on earth they are recruited to good positions?

Because you have to outpace all peers, being an avid learner, and applying everything in practice. No theories. The biggest asset for young Talent is the ability to learn from others, adapt, and re-use. This is an asset, regardless of degrees.

Third: working life is changing

We are at the beginning of a drastic or dramatic change, the advent of so-called the fourth industrial revolution (keeperless shops,  bankerless trading etc.). And there are no patented answers to anything. Not even for studies and jobs. No recipes.

How people think about careers is changing. Success isn’t anymore about money, but for fulfilling a purpose. Technology disruptions in all industries create a flurry of new jobs and skills.

Young people are either influenced by passive income, although it doesn’t seem sustainable and profitable and on the other hand, they avoid the corporate careers. They refrain themselves from being a pone in the routine company picture.

We are working from home, for fewer hours, for special income schemes. Working on projects, or for 6-months contracted jobs. Working as a partner to a specific team, to develop a specific solution (digital marketing, e-commerce, software domains).

If all these are realities, how they can be reflected in the studies and career planning?

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.

Thomas Jefferson

Fourth: expert-generalists

It is difficult to explain to young Talent that the on-going transformation asks for Expert-Generalists, meaning that you are developing yourself in a specific expert domain (Math, Marketing, Psychology), but you are supplementing your profile, your know-how and skills ‘weaponry’ with relevant/complementary general knowledge. To bridge and connect to adjustent professional areas (depth of expertise in one area, and the broad knowledge in other areas).

Why is it difficult? Because we live in a society that asks you to take a role for a lifetime. To think as in an equation; clerical and sequential. They tell you that being a doctor is the whole thing. Being an engineer means to select what kind of focus you select.

Families, schools, and universities “market” (and push for) curriculums and brand-names. But the job market asks for knowledge from a wide area of fields. Companies wish to employ expert-generalists with the ability to draw upon expertise and know-how from numerous disciplines.

Fifth: don’t follow ‘recipes’

  • Of course, technology is here to stay. All jobs in the future will require some technical skills in the future.
  • But you don’t need to be too technical to be successful. Creativity and Services will need an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The customer is king. All technology disruptions look into the customer, so customer success/support, marketing, and sales roles will always be there. But what qualities do you need to serve customers in sales or even in your own company?
  • A career plan is an on-going working plan. Search, visits, reading, opinions, and communities are trusted sources.

Closing

We all exercise some kind of pressure on our kids, to ‘play’ in the same patterns we’ve learned as successful. But in reality, our societies don’t change the education/job “system” to prepare them for making alternative choices.

We don’t give them the stimuli they need, so they can think their own (new) paths and act in innovative ways. We are creating risks for them: mental health issues, body fatigue and even, social isolation. Western cultures are still more individualistic, materialistic, and socially antagonistic, with young people now facing more competitive environments, more unrealistic expectations, and more anxious and controlling parents than generations before.

Truth is, there are no recipes. No easy fixings.

To my dear friend-dad, who asked me about future-proof education, this is my answer; this very blog post.

Plus a short tip: instead of trying to make a perfect choice and be perfect, it is best to help his boy search, hear, and adapt to the times ahead. Start thinking, not executing. That is going to be a huge ‘investment’ in the boy’s future.

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