The Future of the Future of Work

What skills will workers need in two years?

Published on May 16, 2024

Written by Tim Hatton

Up First: Moving Targets

An individual job doesn’t change too much day to day or week to week, but look back over a few months or years, and you’ll realize that the one-time favor you did once is now a weekly deliverable, and the new tool you started using some Thursday afternoon is now indispensable. If that’s happening to each of us individually, what’s happening across the entire labor market?

Our research team is working on that. There’s a lot we can’t say yet (stay tuned for later this summer) but for now, we can start with the ten occupations that have changed the most from 2021-2023. 

Most disrupted occupations; top to bottom, it's mobile applications developer, computer scientist, biostatistician, pharmacy aide, solar engineer, web dev, webmaster, tax preparer, seo specialist, and CIO

Right away, we notice that it’s mainly tech roles seeing the most disruption, with Mobile App Developer taking the top spot. The rise of AI is linked to much of the rapid differences in tech, while Solar Engineer at #5 indicates the growing importance of green skills in the global market

Again, there’s a lot more to come, but what’s important to recognize now is that the work that we’re doing and the skills that we’re using now are different than what we’ll use even next year. So in planning ahead, adaptability will be key. 

New Intelligence

In fact, our friend Josh Bersin has written about exactly that in a new report, Enterprise Talent Intelligence: Applying Skills Technology and AI at Work. He, and the entire Josh Bersin Company, have been leaders in HR research and advising for decades. There’s nobody better to understand the latest and best practices in developing effective people strategies.

The Enterprise Talent Intelligence report is about the shift from static, outdated HR systems to new, dynamic, and holistic talent intelligence platforms that can use big data and AI to identify patterns in skills, job fit, career pathways, team structure, and work assignments. It’s like the shift from print to digital advertising: instead of using guesswork and a one-size-fits-all approach, HR leaders now have access to internal data that can optimize how talent is assessed and deployed within their organizations.

That advantage is compounded when you go beyond your own organization and look at the entire labor market. Talent intelligence creates the opportunity to benchmark your company against the competition on several fronts, including trending technologies, location planning, demographic needs, and skill comparisons.

As they say in the report: “Companies like Google, NVIDIA, and Amazon rely on talent intelligence leaders to make informed global decisions on hiring and team placement, utilizing data from providers like Lightcast…[and] this global labor market data aids in identifying talent pools, understanding salary demands, and monitoring market changes, which benefits talent acquisition and L&D strategies.” 

Ironically, one of the biggest takeaways from the report is how skill change is affecting the HR tech industry itself. Most of these companies don’t have experience managing massive volumes of data, but they’re going to need to learn fast, because the future of talent strategy is driven by data. 

Josh Bersin doesn’t miss; the report is well worth a read. And if you’re wondering how to apply big-data talent intelligence to develop a future-ready workforce in your own organization, well, we’re just a call away. 

Speaking of the future: 

One Last Thing: What Skills Will Workers Need In Two Years?

If we know jobs are changing fast and that data is creating new opportunities for understanding talent pipelines, then the natural next step is to use that data to better understand where the market is moving. Especially for educators preparing students for careers and communities positioning their workforces for future success, what’s happening next matters just as much as what’s happening now.

In our Lightcast Analyst™ platform, we’ve launched skill projections going out two years into the future. 

After analyzing information from job postings, employment trends, and past growth patterns, we can find patterns that indicate what’s coming next, and these predictions are grouped into four categories based on how much they're expected to grow compared to the overall job market:

Rapidly Growing Skills: Surging in demand significantly faster than the market.

Growing Skills: Exceeding general market growth rates.

Stable Growth Skills: Expanding at a rate consistent with the market.

Lagging Growth Skills: Growing below market trends, which could be positive or negative.

Here’s an example from skills related to data science.

list of skills with projections

There’s more to learn about skill projections on the Lightcast knowledge base or the blog. And it’s included in Lightcast Analyst™, so you can also talk to your CS rep (if you’re an existing customer of ours) or learn more about what the tool can do for you.

Thanks for reading On The Job. This is our second edition—be sure to catch up on the first one here (“What Happens When AI Job Postings Go Down?”), and you can also subscribe here. We’ll see you next time.