July 2013

There is a question asking for your help at the end.

Regular readers of my monthly missive will know that I have a keen interest in career management. In fact, it was the subject of my MBA dissertation 10 years ago. I read with interest a recently published piece of research outlining the top 10 career choices for 2013. The (US) research is based on industry growth for jobs since 2010. I was particularly interested in position number 5 – HR, Training and ER Specialists. I have listed the others further on.

‘Job security’ and ‘job for life’ are both redundant phrases. We will all need to rethink, redefine and broaden our sources to continuously earn a salary. As people develop a broader range of skills, they will also become more resilient and adaptable to change. To be provocative, the responsibility to do this is our own rather than our employer’s or anyone else’s. Discuss. I recognise that it’s not just about skills. The foresight someone has to choose an industry or sector to work in is also critical. For example farming employed nearly half the workforce in the early 1900’s but a small fraction today. More recently, manufacturing has followed a similar trajectory.

In a corporate sense, this ability to read trends and adapt one’s skills accordingly is referred to as ‘pivoting’. This term is coined by two people at Stanford’s design school and is mentioned in Chrystia Freeland’s fascinating book – The Plutocrats. Incidentally, if you are a senior level reward specialist, I encourage you to read Chapter 3 ‘Superstars’. It sets out in a clear and persuasive way, how we have arrived at our current position of regularly discussing the remuneration levels of the most senior captains of industry.

So – how hard are you thinking about your skills and your future career? More importantly, what actions are you taking to stay relevant? A person’s inability to pivot during their career is likely to mean that their ability to remain a key player in a chosen field will become increasingly limited.

So, here is the list of top 10 career choices for 2013 (IT and Marketing do well)

  1. Software Developers
  2. Accountants and Auditors
  3. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
  4. Computer Systems Analysts
  5. Human Resources, Training and Labour Relations Specialists
  6. Networks and Computer Systems Administrators
  7. Sales Representatives
  8. Information Security Analysts & Web Developers
  9. Mechanical Engineers
  10. Industrial Engineers

Now then, onto the part I would like your help with. I am planning to introduce a new name for this monthly missive and would like your help in making a selection. I will be giving away a set of the 9 books I have written to date to the person who chooses the best name. (My colleagues will be doing the judging). Any ideas? Please let me know.

Helen Robinson