Tech Job Trends: Towards The New Normal
As you might have already heard, a crisis never brings us anything new: it just accelerates the existing trends. Let us take a look at the various job popularity trends across the last years.
According to the World Economic Forum, advances in technology are changing the landscape of the job market. Whereas the demand for certain IT skills becomes higher and higher, there is also a number of job roles that are likely to vanish in the forthcoming years. This is mostly due to a massive increase in robotic, automated solutions that are more accurate, reliable, and (importantly) cheaper than a typical employee dealing with the same tasks.
In this article, we compare the demand associated with selected job positions throughout the last four years and look deeply into what happened in the second quarter of 2020.
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IT/Tech Sector: 2016-2020
For the sake of convenience, we limit ourselves to three specific areas: data science, Python development, and Java development. Here is how the demand for the corresponding specialists has changed since 2016:
As you can see, there is a remarkable increase in search volume associated with data scientists. This is a long-term trend, like the growth in search volume for the term Python development. Java development, on the other hand, is not getting more popular over time. This, however, requires a more detailed analysis.
Real Sector: 2016-2020
Let us now take a look at some “classic” jobs such as accounting. The rise of automated solutions and digitalization makes this area quite exposed to possible replacement with robotics.
The same (but in some other way) is true for jobs such as travel agents or interpreters. Information is now more accessible and public than it used to be. For instance, booking.com is now a much simpler alternative to the old-fashioned travel agency.
This can be illustrated by the following search volume chart:
In the travel industry, human-to-human communication is still important and valuable, and this fact probably slows down the effects we mentioned above. The interpreter also cannot be replaced with AI yet. On the other hand, financial systems are already performing well. Accordingly, we see a distinct decrease in demand for accounting jobs.
It might be instructive to compare the exact growth (or decrease) rates in these two sectors. Let us make a simple estimation based on the linearized trend over the past four years and evaluate the relative variance:
Whereas the trend itself is not surprising, the speed of change is remarkable.
Note that the rough analysis we use may result in mixing the job-related searches with the education-related ones. In fact, this means that one can expect a partially deferred effect. Frankly, there are already significant changes in the job market, but it will be even greater taking into consideration that a lot of intelligent students make tech education their long-term choice.
Effects of the Pandemic
As we mentioned in the very beginning, crises are always accelerators. Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect example here.
For instance, let us dive deep into the above stats and look at the year 2020:
One can see a large 35-40 percent drop in the tech jobs search volume around March 2020. The first lockdown and, to a certain degree, the overall panic led to massive freezing of almost all HR activities in many companies.
However, the statistics show us that it was just a short-term effect. The recovery was rather quick, and, basically, we observe the demand to be around the pre-Covid levels.
The picture in the real sector is different, especially regarding the businesses that are most vulnerable to the lockdown:
The accounting services were hit in the second quarter but are struggling with recovery, whereas the travel industry is totally disrupted. It is a good illustration of how sensitive these job areas are and, again, a good illustration of the catalyzation taking place during the crisis.
It is worth noting that the described effects are not somewhat virtual. One might think that the search volume we used to estimate dynamics does not represent reality. Of course, a deep and detailed study is well appreciated, though it will certainly take time and require investments.
To illustrate the correlation between the metrics we used and the “real life”, we use the following chart:
We see that the explosion on the unemployment curve is well aligned with the decrease in search volumes we outlined previously. Of course, it is unlikely to be any kind of direct effect, but a junction between the online and offline stats.
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