Top 5 Recruitment Sectors to be in for next 5-10 years

Top 5 Recruitment Sectors to be in for next 5-10 years

With unemployment typically running at 8-11% across the developed economies of the world it seems bizarre to be talking about skills shortages but that is the reality of the world today.

In last weeks blog ‘Can we win the Global Talent War’ I mentioned the five:

  • Information Technology
  • Engineering
  • Energy, Oil and Gas
  • Healthcare
  • Emerging Technology application

This week I go into detail about why these sectors are the ones to be in.

Information Technology

At CeBIT in Hannover Germany last week, Neelie Kroes told delegate’s that the EUs competitiveness is under threat unless we can fill the gap in the regions IT Skills Shortages. The EU have launched a ‘grand coalition’ to address the regions issues.cebit


In addition in last weeks article on the CeBIT event the BBC reported:

The (EU) commission’s own figures suggested that there will be 900,000 vacancies for IT-related roles by 2015. There are currently about 26 million people unemployed across Europe. The number of “digital jobs” – jobs based around IT – is growing by about 100,000 every year, yet the number of skilled IT graduates is failing to keep pace.

IT is the fashion industry of business. Whilst financial practices change slowly and evolve at a gentle pace rather than being abolished, IT in business is obsolete inside five years and the people who design, build and maintain our complex IT architecture find their skills similarly redundant too.

In my 24 years in IT recruitment I was asked many times ‘how should I guarantee my employment? For many years I have responded in the same way, as there is no company that can guarantee continuous employment for all its employees forever.

‘If you wish to remain in employment you must take ownership of your own career and ensure you remain current with all the latest technologies in your core sector.’

IT is constantly changing and consequently it renews itself every 5-10 years.

Likewise so do its workers if they wish to remain employed.

As a result of these shortages many of my agency clients, despite the recession, see an increasing need for their services and all have growing sales lines. I see no end to this for the foreseeable future unless the need by business to adopt the latest technology diminishes radically.


Last year a study Jobs and growth: the importance of engineering skills to the economy by the Royal Academy of Engineering found that British industry needs 100,000 new graduates in Science, technology, engineering and mathematics until 2020. In total that’s 830,000 professionals and 450,000 technicians.

They found nuclear new build and automotive manufacture as key areas and are predicting a 15% premium compared to UK averages salaries. Those that follow my ‘Greenshoots’ Newsfeeds and tweets will know that automotive has been a key growth area with Nissan, Land Rover Jaguar, BMW and many others all announcing a growth in jobs. With the HS2 Project due to kick off too, this will create further growth in this sector.

In January Sir James Dyson, the inventor, warned of a deficit of 60,000 engineering graduates this year and argued: “The government must do more to attract the brightest and best into engineering and science so that we can compete internationally. “Twenty-six per cent of engineering graduates do not go into engineering or technical professions,” he told the Radio Times. “More worrying is that 85 per cent of all engineering and science postgraduates in our universities come from outside the UK. Yet nine in 10 leave the UK after they finish their studies.”

Clearly all these reports on the engineering sector are collectively projecting skills gaps well into the 2020’s. This too is a key area to grow in.

Energy, Oil & Gas

In a way Energy, Oil & Gas are a subset of Engineering but need to be considered a sector in their own right. The global economy is demanding increased energy production and this drive is forcing greater and greater demand for the engineers to source, design and build the oil, gas and energy extraction and generating complexes. Besides traditional sectors of oil and gas exploration and production, the quest for renewables seems to be gathering a pace here in the UK.

To put the scale of this into context the Lloyds Banking group recently found that oil and gas firms could create up to 34,000 jobs over the next two years. Stuart

While, area director of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking north of Scotland, said “The 100 companies we surveyed have committed to creating 5,000 jobs, which, if replicated across the industry, would see tens of thousands of jobs created over the next two years.”

Again if you track my ‘Greenshoots – 1000 new jobs created in North Sea’ news feeds in recent weeks you will see them all littered with Oil, Gas and renewable energy projects that have been announced. Only last week Aker Solutions announced a new contract from BP which will see 500 additional jobs on top of the company’s 1,500 already announced here in the UK.


NHS NursesThe drivers behind the demand for healthcare professionals is our globally aging population which poses considerable threat to the world economy over the next 20 to 50 years.


As we reported in this weeks March Greenshoots the Nottingham office of Home Instead Senior Care found this week care is not an attractive profession for many and they have been struggling to recruit 40 care workers company. Nevertheless the demand for skills in this sector is set to boom and there appears no end in sight.

The only issue is can we attract the people to work in this highly demanding sector.


Emerging Technology Applications


As technology advances the application of this to every business is going to create and generate new jobs and skills for which there is a very small supply base.

It is debateable whether these will be IT or engineering jobs. Certainly there will be many in these sectors but technology and mobile technology particularly is starting to pervade the whole of our lives from in-car systems, to domestic climate control systems to intelligent hi-fi to the whole tablet, smartphone industry, which now enables retailers, suppliers and businesses generally to create totally new ways of delivering services to us.

telehealth-remote-kit-btFrom Tele-health that enables patients to be treated for many illnesses at home to iPhone apps that enable us to purchase things on the move, business is changing and the skills and people required to keep businesses ahead of their competitors are going to be highly sort after.


Only recently a Computerworld survey indicated that 60% of IT executives plan to hire app developers in 2013.

I’m sure other vibrant sectors will materialise as we emerge out of our worldwide recession and the skills shortages discussed in my blog Third World War begins Now – Recruitment Agencies Mercenaries or Allies? start to bite.

It defies logic that with Europe facing a skill shortage of 23 million by 2020 and China and incredible 140m by 2030, recruitment agencies will not have a key role to play.


If you have children considering university then clearly these are the sectors to go for but Graduates in Cap and Gownwith the average student debt tipped to reach £50,000 by 2015 when the new student fees hit, you can understand why fresh graduates will look globally rather than in the UK when seeking careers.

Personally I remain convinced that UK Plc. does not have this policy right so watch this space.





Can You win the Global Talent War



If you read my blog ‘Third World War begins Now – Recruitment Agencies Mercenaries or Allies?’ then you will know that over the next 5-15 years the world is a facing seismic escalation in the ‘War-on-Talent’. The 140 million shortfall in skilled workers that China alone will face by 2030 is testament to the scale of the issue.


So what do we do, sit and wait till it happens?


I hope not.


Retirement – There are a few home truths we are all going to have to accept and one in the UK is, in a society where we are living longer we cannot expect the younger generations to pay for our retirement. Consequently we will all need to work longer.


In 1946 when the NHS came into being in the UK the life expectancy of a man was 67 and the retirement age 65. Today the age at which people can draw their pension is only now rising from 65 to 70 but life expectancy is now into the eighties with the most common age of death for a man to be 85 and a woman 89. Ah but I hear you say ‘I have paid National Insurance all my life, I have paid for my retirement.’


Actually that’s not true. The reality is we have paid for our parent’s retirement. The reality is our children are responsible for paying for ours and sadly there are not as many of our children as there are of us.


For this reason I personally am expecting to be undertaking some form of employment into my early 70s. The difference being I do not expect to be doing a 37-hour week. That said my life expectancy is likely to be into my 90s given the rate at which it is growing.


The trend is happening now. Last year Saga Group published a quarterly report in Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 18.11.27December that indicated that the number of over 65s in employment had risen by 124,000 in the past year. It would appear I’m not alone.


The nature of employment is going to change and society and we need to become more flexible.


Unemployment – In many societies globally this is a cancer that is consuming our youth and one we in the UK need desperately to look at. There are jobs in our economies, which need doing, but for some reason the supply side of the economy is not producing the skills we need.  To a degree this is a task for governments and the education community to take the lead on with support and input from employers. Dialogs take place but what we need is action.


We are already being told the skills gaps today exist in:


  • Information Technology
  • Engineering
  • Oil and Gas
  • Healthcare
  • Emerging Technology application


All the reports indicate these gaps are widening in the short to medium term and no one seems to be offering a remedy for them.


We need to see greater incentives for students to pursue careers in these disciplines rather and other careers for which the demands do not exist. Its sad but ‘market-forces’ may take 3-4 years to start to impact students university trends but I’m sure as a reader you have your views on this and I’d be delighted to hear them


There is another change that is taking place too.


New Employment Structures – In November last year McKinsey published an article in theirScreen Shot 2013-03-13 at 18.09.35 quarterly review entitled ‘Preparing for a new era of work.’ The article offers a range of solutions and is a must read for all HR and Recruitment professionals.


Like my blog last week, it identifies the emerging skill shortages and the changing demographics as a major issue, which they believe, will force employers to look at ways of using their highly paid skilled professionals more effectively.


They highlight the trend over the past 30 years of where ‘transaction-based jobs’ that could be standardized or scripted have been automated or shifted to low paid workers. Now they highlight the ‘knowledge worker jobs’ such as managers, sales reps, engineers, lawyers, managers, teachers and doctors which they label ‘interaction jobs’ as being the major growth area and vital for companies and countries a like.


These ‘interaction jobs’ already accounts for a very high proportion of jobs in society, roughly a third in developed economies and a quarter in developing ones.


Due to skill shortages, which are already affecting these jobs, employers are looking at the ‘interaction work’ within their organisations and considering ways this work is undertaken.


McKinsey’s highlight three ways organisations may respond.


  • Break jobs Down
  • Go Virtual
  • Make work more flexible


In the first situation we can already see this happening. In the NHS the role of Consultants and Doctors are being broken down and elements that can be are being delegated to Nurses or new functions. For example, today Phlebotomists exist in most modern health centres. Twenty to thirty years ago it would have been the doctor who undertook this work.


As recruiters we can expect new roles to emerge and organization structures to evolve to reflect these changes. We will also need to be flexible in our responses as it is essential that we support our clients on this journey by helping them identify and source people for these new roles and use our skills and expertise to source applicants with the right competencies.


In many cases direct like for like replacements may not exist. We will need to think outside the box and become creative with our solutions. The opportunity for us to partner with clients on this journey will be there. As recruiters we must demonstrate we have the knowledge to support our clients if we wish to fulfill the role of partner rather than a mere commodity supplier.


Going virtual is already happening and with the advance of hi-speed broadband home working will become the norm for many. In the US estimates are that 25% of all jobs could be performed remotely. This has implications for ‘where we live’ and ‘what jobs we can apply for’.


Living in Cornwall and working for a city firm starts to become possible. The Millennial generation (Gen-Y) will demand this approach and employers will react if they wish to secure the best talent and we as recruiters need to ‘get with it’!


Finally making work more flexible will happen. As the McKinsey report says


By breaking some jobs into components and using technology to virtualize others, employers can engage labor far more efficiently. Some companies are already exploring a spectrum of mix-and-match work arrangements: traditional full-time workers in the office, part-time or temporary workers, and contingent, remote workers who can help meet spikes in demand. Companies that optimize such configurations and manage them effectively can begin engaging talent as needed, thereby lowering overhead costs and improving response times. The key to this talent-on-demand model is the availability of workers with specialized skills who are willing to work on a contingent basis.’


So you see as we approach retirement and seek reduced hours our ability to support organisations ‘flexible models’ becomes possible. Whether its two or three day working, eight to ten week project work, as we all move towards our old age we still have a significant part to contribute.


My sense is employers who adapt and optimize these models will be the ones who survive. Those that cling to outdated rigid operating models will die.


The question for HR and Recruitment Agencies alike however  remains


‘Is failure an option?’


Feel free to comment or tweet your responses.