Career Planning Tools: Which jobs and skills are in demand?

If you are thinking of switching careers or making a job change, then career planning tools to help you understand which jobs and skills are in demand, and where, are really helpful. Furthermore, knowing this information can help you not only decide which career is best for you but also help guide you to increase your salary faster.

LinkedIn provides a great career planning tool for free: Workforce Reports.

Fortunately, in today’s rapidly evolving technological and social world, good career planning tools that provide insight are available. One such tool, that I want to introduce you to today, is LinkedIn’s new Workforce Reports. I mean who better to help provide you useful insights than the world’s largest professional network with over 540 million users in 200 countries.

When I decided to Switch my careers and change jobs to a brand new profession, it was not a feeling that suddenly happened. I did not wake up one morning and decide that was the best course of action. Rather it was a gradual feeling, as I began to feel increasingly unfulfilled in my career at the time. However, when I did finally come to the decision to Switch careers and change jobs, I knew that I wanted three things: 1) to enjoy my job; 2) to increase my salary (now and in future); and 3) choose a career that was in demand.

I did my best to get a good sense of which jobs were in demand now and in the future, using online available articles and reports available at the time (about 2010). What I wish I had access to, in LinkedIn’s Workforce Reports. These hugely insightful reports, could give you the information you need to see into the future, now and continuously, helping you truly future proof your career.

The Workforce Reports can give you critical insights into the abundance and scarcity of jobs and skills in the US and UK.

The reports are freely available at the LinkedIn Economic Graph website. Simply click on the resources menu option in the top right of the landing page, and then choose the report you would like to see. The reports are released every month, and currently cover the United States and the United Kingdom. If you click on the United States reports, then there is the option to get some specific results for some of the major metropolitan areas (20 in total), like NYC, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco etc. The United Kingdom report covers the major UK regions, like London, North West and Northern Ireland etc. For this article, I looked at the January 2018 United States report, and then the Austin, TX specific report.

Here are three key insights you can gather from the United States report:

  1. Which metropolitan areas are growing – At the United States level, you get some useful insight into which metropolitan areas are growing fastest in comparison to each other. For Jan 2018, we learn that Houston, Phoenix, Dallas Ft. Worth and Cleveland-Akron areas are all growing above the national average.
  2. How popular is hiring on LinkedIn – We also learn that seasonally unadjusted hiring on LinkedIn has grown 24.2% YoY for Dec 2017 vs Dec 2016.
  3. How popular is hiring by industry on LinkedIn – Then we get a breakdown of the different industries and their relative hiring rates YoY. Here we can see that the Architecture / Engineering industries are hiring 21.1% more in Dec 2017 vs. Dec 2016.

This data can certainly help me feel better about using LinkedIn for job searching if I am in a good location and industry. Here is where it gets really useful. Right near the bottom, the report talks about skills scarcity In different metropolitan areas. We learn for example that Austin, TX has the 2nd largest skills scarcity of all the metro areas covered. So I click on this specific report to find out more.

Once I am in the Austin, TX report, I can see great insight into which skills are in abundance, which are scarce, and the migration patterns in and out of the area. Here are my key learnings:

  1. Abundant skills – The top three abundant skills are Integrated Circuit (IC) Design, Perl/Python/Ruby and Scripting Languages. If I want to remain in one of these professions, I need to develop a strong differentiator to other people.
  2. Scarce skills – The top three scarce skills are Healthcare Management, General Finance and Accounting. Great news if I am in these professions and in Austin or thinking of coming. This gives me great leverage to increase my salary.

Then below the scarcity skill list, LinkedIn provides links to courses available in each of these professions on LinkedIn’s own learning platform. I have not tried any of these courses to date, but potentially very useful start to learning more about a specific skill set or job. Certainly, it might give me a head start in learning some of the industry language I would need to make a career switch to a new profession.

Placing yourself in a geography where your job and skills are in scarce supply can help you advance your career and salary.

Remember, depending on your personality and career goal, being in a place where your skills are in short supply can be a massive positive. First employers may be desperate for your expertise and experience (you will just need to help them see it). And secondly, you may have an easier path to becoming a prominent member of the professional community. All in all it could lead to more opportunity and better salary relative to cost of living.

LinkedIn’s Workforce Report, and the insights and links to skills courses can be an insightful tool in your career planning. It will not be the full answer, but certainly useful.

Have you seen the report? Do you think it will be useful in helping you find a career path?

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