CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


How employment trends affect you

By Bruce Mcalpine
Special to The Toronto Sun

Many trends in the world today impact the job market of tomorrow. We're faced with growing concerns about health care, security and environmental issues; the aging of our population; and the growing number of high-impact activities to counteract chronic stress.

These trends and others have given rise to significant new opportunities in many industries, such as security services, "edutainment," esthetic services, recreation/ecotourism and environmental sciences.

Specifically, increasingly sophisticated manufacturing automation and robotics have led to new types of silicon and biological chipmaking technicians. Similarly, to serve an aging population, geriatric expertise has developed in nursing, social work and restorative therapy.

Some of the factors that cause new specialties and occupations to emerge include changing technology, laws, demographics, social developments and business practices.

The more dramatic the changes, the more likely they are to cause occupational change. Initially, there will be modifications to current job descriptions, but once enough workers are doing the tasks as primary functions, then a new occupation emerges.

We've all heard that workers today will likely have up to seven jobs in their lifetime. Despite the prominence of change in so many aspects of our lives, this reality is still alarming to some people.

It's not a reflection that present work has less value, rather, it is an acknowledgement that positions evolve or new ones are created and people need to reinvent themselves to succeed. Seldom is the need for people to pursue entirely new careers so much as reconfiguring existing skills and experience.

To be ready for tomorrow, keep one eye on the future and choose a field that interests you.

Identify roles you want to play and areas in which you want to contribute. Career choices are based on your interests and your talents. However, you can leverage an understanding of demographic, economic and cultural trends to select the right path for you:
  • Monitor cultural and demographic trends outside your current industry.
  • Be flexible and adaptable to opportunities.
  • Regularly record talents you acquire from new projects and life experiences.
  • Know what others value, and keep potential employers informed of your significant accomplishments.
  • Cultivate independent thinking, yet recognize when teamwork can deliver more.
  • Access ideas and information by networking with the people relied on to get jobs done in the industries of growth and change.
  • Go global and develop self-reliance and self-management skills.
  • Make yourself a knowledge resource for others to contact.

    (Bruce McAlpine is president of Fulcrum Search Science Inc. and is a past president of the Association of CanadianSearch, Employment & Staffing Services.)

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