New In Analyst: Sectors and Future Projections

Published on May 8, 2024

Written by Tim Hatton

Two recent updates—one clarifying a new view of skills, and one looking to the future—are expanding insights and enabling better, faster decisions in our Analyst tools. 

In April, the Center for Human-centered Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University released its annual AI Index Report, highlighting new developments throughout the field, including in the labor market. Lightcast has long been a research partner for the report, highlighting how demand for jobs and skills in this fast-moving field has shifted. 

We define an AI job as one that includes an AI skill. But what is an “AI skill”?

Our team of researchers went through the Lightcast Skills Taxonomy and hand-selected them. These pull from across a wide range of computer science disciplines, meaning that they were in different places throughout the taxonomy—but for the Stanford index, we brought them together all into one place.

Now, we’re giving everyone that capability. Sectors are now available in Analyst, highlighting four key areas (including AI) where it’s vital to see the market clearly.

New Possibilities With Lightcast Sectors

Lightcast Sectors are tailored segments of the labor market, focusing on specific segments that are important to understand but challenging to measure with traditional categories because they include more than one type of occupation or skill. These sectors are crafted through extensive collaboration between Lightcast experts and validation from outside partners, ensuring that they reflect real-world complexities and nuances.

Right now, these include:

Green Jobs : Our work on the green economy is based on a four-tier system, categorizing green jobs into Core Green, Green Enabling, and Green Enabled. The green jobs sector, based on our research into this evolving field, provides a detailed view of the green job ecosystem across various regions and industries.

Data Privacy and Protection 🔐: This sector addresses the growing need for roles dedicated to securing data and ensuring compliance with evolving data protection laws, such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Artificial Intelligence 🤖 : Recently updated to incorporate the latest findings from the Stanford AI Index, this sector helps users understand how AI-related skills are transforming job markets across different sectors and localities.

Cybersecurity 💻: Developed with insights from NIST and CompTIA, this sector sheds light on the demand for cybersecurity expertise, crucial for tackling increasing digital threats. Our understanding of what defines a cyber job is what powers, an all-in-one resource for workers and employers to understand demand throughout this vital field.

These sectors offer unique perspectives on the labor market, enabling all users to drill down into specific areas of interest and gain insights that are not readily available through the standard classifications available in Analyst. What ties these diverse categories together is that they’re increasingly significant throughout the labor market and also the broader economy, and that they’re only going to increase in importance.

And speaking of anticipating future needs: this isn’t the only update we’ve made to Analyst

Skill Projections In Analyst

To build a future-ready workforce in a fast-moving labor market, you need to understand not just what’s happening in the present, but also what may happen in the future. That’s why we’re excited to announce that Skill Projections are also available in Analyst and our APIs. 

Using a robust machine learning model that aggregates data from job postings, employment trends, and historical growth patterns, our Skill Projections are updated regularly to reflect the latest market dynamics. This predictive tool categorizes skills into four growth types relative to the overall 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.

As a whole, skill projections rest on a few key assumptions:

  1. The labor market is growing at a rate near 6% annually. This means that we’re comparing growth to the overall market, rather than just creating raw projections.

  2. Our multi-year model, built on several years of data, aims for a balanced view of growth trends. This means Analyst requires sustained growth over months before altering projections, thus minimizing reactions to fleeting hype cycles. For instance, "Prompt Engineering" appeared in fewer than 10 job postings prior to 2023. Despite its rapid rise over the past 18 months, our model conservatively forecasts growth, adjusting only if the trend persists beyond initial hype.

  3. Our projections only cover defined skills, informed by ongoing research and customer feedback by the Lightcast taxonomy team, rather than aiming to pinpoint emerging skills.

skill projections in analyst screen shot

We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, so right now these projections only go two years into the future—but a lot can happen in two years. These projections lay a valuable foundation, especially as educators and workforce developers help guide how their communities and institutions can give workers the skills they need. 

Both Sectors and Skill Projections are available now