The Future Job Market: Skills Needed in 2024 and Beyond

The Future Job Market: Skills Needed in 2024 and Beyond

The Future Job Market: Skills Needed in 2024 and Beyond banner

The labor market is currently amid seismic shifts, as it adjusts to the long-lasting impact of the global pandemic and accommodates the wave of new technologies replacing many jobs formerly occupied by human workers. To prepare for the job market of the future, students today should focus on the critical, transferable skills that will be required to succeed in nearly every industry.

Key Takeaways

Take a future-forward approach to the job market by developing these in-demand skills:

  • Technological skills
  • Soft skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Adaptive learning and upskilling
  • Industry-specific expertise
  • Remote work and digital collaboration
  • Green skills and sustainability
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Global citizenship and cultural competence

Analyzing the Current Job Market

Although the U.S. job market started off strong in 2024, there are indications that the pace of hiring will decelerate compared to previous years. J.P. Morgan’s January 2024 jobs report revealed an impressive addition of 353,000 jobs in the first month, surpassing expectations. 

Experts caution, however, that the momentum may wane. Morningstar’s Economic Outlook highlights an anticipated slowdown in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2024, compared to the solid 2.5% growth observed in 2023. As GDP growth dips below 1% by year-end, firms may adjust their hiring strategies to maintain profitability. While the labor market remains robust, job seekers should focus on developing standout skills to navigate the competitive landscape.

Despite this assumed slowdown, those looking to enter the labor force will still see positive job growth trends. Rather than creating new positions, however, organizations may begin working to fill positions that have remained vacant over the past few years.

These trends may indicate a higher volume of applicants for the available job openings, which highlights the importance of developing future-forward skills that will stand out on a resume.

Forecasting the Future Job Market

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current national unemployment rate in the U.S. is 3.7 percent, which appears to be holding stable at this time. However, there are several factors that will heavily influence the job market and the workforce in the coming years.

The World Economic Forum recently released its Future of Jobs Report 2023, which highlights trends that may shape the job market in the next five years. Key takeaways from the report include:

  • More than 85 percent of organizations surveyed considered technology to be the driving force behind their hiring strategy over the next five years. Advancing technologies will continue to reshape and redefine the job market.
  • More than 75 percent of companies plan to utilize cloud computing and AI technology within their organizations in the next 5 years.
  • There is an expected labor market churn of more than 23 percent over the course of the next five years, which can be attributed to the elimination of declining jobs as well as the influx of emerging jobs that accommodate new technologies.

As forecasters look to anticipate the changes in the job market over the next several years, the workforce needs to begin preparing now. These are the job skills that will be needed in 2024 and beyond:

Technological Skills

Advancing technology will continue to impact the types of jobs available and the way that workers perform their jobs, making technological skills key to the success of the modern workforce.

Some of the most critical technological skills to focus on include:

  • Digital literacy Digital literacy is defined as the skill set required in order to navigate digital platforms, such as social media, cloud-based applications, databases, management systems and more.
  • Data analytics and interpretation Data plays a central role in the growth and development of organizations across all industries, so workers will have to be familiar with data-based strategies and possess the skills necessary to collect, evaluate, analyze and interpret data.
  • Coding and programming skills Becoming fluent in programming languages, such as Java or Python, can allow you to remain competitive in a job market that requires applicants to be as proficient as possible with all types of technology. Coding is also going to be one of the most in-demand skills in the workforce in future years.

Soft Skills for Collaboration

Soft skills are the kind of skills that are not taught in a classroom—but learned through collaborative experiences with others. According to Indeed, soft skills are becoming increasingly vital, because they prove to employers that you have what it takes to work as a team and grow within a company.

Soft skills that you should focus on include:

  • Effective communication Being able to communicate clearly and effectively while using the most reliable mediums is essential to your success in the workforce.
  • Collaboration and teamwork across global borders Knowing how to communicate with people from other communities or cultures allows you to be a better collaborator and makes you a more appealing candidate in an increasingly global economy.
  • Adaptability and resilience in dynamic work environments The workplace will likely change dramatically in the next several years, as automation takes hold and workers learn how to adjust to the latest technologies. Being adaptable and resilient will allow workers to remain valuable to their organizations.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Being able to dig deeper and think outside the box allows you to become an innovator—which all organizations need as they look to adapt to the changing technologies that are defining our future.

Some notable critical thinking and problem-solving skills include:

  • Analytical skills in decision-making Making decisions in the 21st-century economy requires you to do more than rely on your gut instinct. You need to know how to effectively make data-based decisions that align with the strategic goals of the organization.
  • Creative problem-solving in complex situations Having the confidence and ingenuity to develop innovative solutions for your organizations will give you a competitive advantage in the ever-evolving job market.
  • Strategic thinking and planning Organizations across all industries are seeking workers who understand the importance of accomplishing short-term goals while simultaneously focusing on the future. Strategic thinking and advanced planning are core competencies required in today’s dynamic job market.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional awareness and intelligence are increasingly essential in today’s job market, particularly as organizations work to prioritize mental wellness and fitness in the workplace.

These are some skills that you can focus on as you work to improve your emotional intelligence:

  • Empathy and understanding in interpersonal relationships Being aware of the feelings and perspectives of others can make you a more intuitive and knowledgeable employee, allowing you to navigate complex experiences and collaborate more effectively.
  • Managing and leading with emotional intelligence Relying on your emotional intelligence to lead a team or organization into the future can allow you to build a more loyal and productive team.
  • Navigating diversity and inclusion Diversity and inclusion initiatives are imperative to the success of organizations in the modern economy, so it’s crucial to have a well-developed sense of cultural awareness and know how to actively improve diversity and inclusion efforts within your industry.

Adaptive Learning and Upskilling

Even once you have earned your online degree and secured a job in your chosen industry, you need to continue prioritizing professional development within your career.

Some ways that you can prioritize adaptive learning and upskilling include:

  • Continuous learning as a professional norm Professional development opportunities, such as certification programs, webinars or industry conferences, will allow you to continue to learn more about the latest technology and trends that are shaping your industry. While once considered the exception, these opportunities are now an expected, professional norm.
  • Embracing lifelong learning opportunities In addition to designated professional development opportunities, you can (and should) prioritize lifelong learning opportunities in all aspects of your life, such as travel, new hobbies or new extracurricular activities.

Industry-Specific Expertise

Depending on your chosen area of study, you may have to focus on developing industry-specific expertise, such as:

  • Specialized knowledge in emerging industries Within up-and-coming industries, such as solar power and sustainable manufacturing, workers will need specialized knowledge to set themselves apart in a competitive job market.
  • Cross-disciplinary skills for versatility Transferable and cross-disciplinary skills can help you pursue opportunities in a number of industries and personalize your career path.

Remote Work and Digital Collaboration

It appears that remote and hybrid work are here to stay, making digital collaboration a crucial skill in the modern economy.

  • Remote work technologies and tools Becoming well-versed in the latest remote work technologies and tools will allow you to be as productive as possible in remote work environments.
  • Balancing flexibility and productivity Employees have become attached to remote work because it allows them to be more flexible, yet it’s still necessary to maintain productivity levels in order to stay relevant and valuable within your organization.

Green Skills and Sustainability

As organizations across all industries begin recognizing their vital roles in mitigating climate change, green skills and sustainability initiatives will become more important. As a worker in this dynamic economy, you’ll need to prioritize:

  • Understanding environmental impact in various sectors Recognizing the impact of producing goods and services on the environment will allow you to suggest sustainable initiatives that could have a positive impact.
  • Integrating sustainable practices into work Knowing how to suggest and implement sustainable practices helps highlight your overall value as an employee.

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Even if you aren’t planning to pursue a career as an entrepreneur, developing a creative, entrepreneurial mindset is key to your success in today’s changing job market. You can do this by:

  • Cultivating innovation and creativity Developing innovative and creative solutions will allow you to showcase your worth to your employer.
  • Intrapreneurship within corporate environments Even in a corporate environment, you can develop new ideas and possibilities and suggest them to leadership to improve the organization’s offerings.

Global Citizenship and Cultural Competence

Work environments across all industries are becoming increasingly diverse, making cultural competence more critical than ever. Central cultural competence and global citizenship skills include:

  • Cross-cultural communication skills Knowing how to respectfully engage and communicate with people from all cultures makes you a more successful and intuitive professional.
  • Navigating global business practices By having a well-developed sense of cultural awareness, you will be better able to navigate global business practices.
  • Building bridges in a globalized job market In a global economy, you need to be the type of professional who knows how to build bridges based on shared commonalities and mutual respect.

How Online Education Prepares for Future Career Needs

Online educational programs provide students with valuable skills needed for future careers. These programs emphasize the development of versatile competencies applicable across diverse industries. Students gain proficiency in relevant tools and techniques, ensuring they are well-prepared for the evolving demands of their chosen fields. Additionally, the collaborative nature of online learning cultivates teamwork and communication skills necessary for success in remote work environments, a valuable asset in today’s professional landscape.

Develop the Most In-Demand Skills to Prepare You for the Job Market at Johnson & Wales University

The online degree programs at Johnson & Wales University embody a career-focused approach, delivering to students an experiential education that immerses them deeply in their desired field from day one. Our forward-thinking approach ensures students not only gain a universal foundation in their chosen area of study but also cultivate a finely tuned skill set that prepares them for the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s job market.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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