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With all the attention being paid to OpenAI’s ChatGPT—the chatbot that headlines are blaring could kill the student essay or offer a substitute for writers—the debate over whether robots are going to replace skilled jobs is getting revived again.
Who knows what impact the chatbot will ultimately have. But a new report from Burning Glass Institute done in partnership with Business-Higher Education Forum and Wiley shows that artificial intelligence and machine learning skills are not only among the fastest growing and widest spreading skill sets across industries in the job market—but having them can mean workers get paid more, rather than less in their jobs.
“The notion that automation is this lurking menace on the horizon is something we should rethink,” says Matt Sigelman, president of the labor market research nonprofit Burning Glass Institute. “We’re seeing that people whose work involves leveraging automation skills get paid significantly more than those who don’t.”
Still, he acknowledges that skills are shifting rapidly in the average occupation, and those who don’t keep up with skills development could be at risk. “The kind of displacement we see may have less to do with jobs going away than with jobs demanding entirely new sets of skills that people in the workforce today haven’t yet mastered.”
So what skills should job seekers be focused on? The Institute’s research, published Dec. 1, offers some ideas. It analyzed data from 228 million job postings over the past seven years, grouping roughly 30,000 skills—everything from welding to data engineering—into 444 “clusters” of skills, such as lean manufacturing or data analysis.
From that analysis, four skill clusters emerged as not only fastest growing (those with the highest rate of growth since 2018) but also widest spreading (those that show up in the broadest array of industries). Due to their rate of growth and reach, these four skill sets—artificial intelligence and machine learning; cloud computing; product management and social media—are the ones disrupting the job market and offering the biggest opportunities for workers, Sigelman says.
“These are the sets of skills that are most likely to get integrated into the work that you’re doing,” he says. In 2021, one in eight job postings required one of the four skill sets, the report found.
Sigelman, a member of Forbes’ inaugural list of people shaping the future of work, also spoke Nov. 15 at Forbes’ Future of Work Summit about the Institute’s research.
Despite signs of economic headwinds, “talent shortages are here to stay,” Sigelman said in November. “What we’re seeing actually is … an imbalance of people with specific sets of skills that the market needs.” His research shows that the average occupation has seen 37% of its skills replaced in the last five years “because of automation, because of technology and also because of the spreading of skills across the market.”
The detailed report also found that people who develop the four skill sets outperform U.S. jobs overall when it comes to compensation, and often by a wide margin.
In addition, it names skills that are “submerging,” or showing comparatively slow or negative growth. These include business consulting, specialized sales, database architecture and administration, and web design and development. Occupations that are declining include database administrators, personal financial advisers and auditors, the report says.
For individual job seekers, Sigelman advises workers to think more about the skills they’re building rather than specific companies or jobs. “What puts you in the driver’s seat in your career is often at least as much about building the right skills as it is about picking the right job,” he says.
By finding skills that are both fast growing and spreading across industries, he says, people can find opportunities in fields where needs are emerging but there are still major skills shortages. Marketing, he says, is an example—a field where there are plenty of “right-brained” creative professionals who are strong communicators but don’t have enough experience with new technical know-how on issues such as automation or data analytics. “Inherently, when you see those kinds of intersections happening in the market, there’s going to be a shortage.”
The Four Fastest Growing And Most Rapidly Spreading Skill Sets In … – Forbes
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