- The number of non technical roles at high tech companies is on the rise.
- Creativity, analytical and digital skills are in demand.
- Workers increasingly need to re-skill and upskill.
The top five emerging roles in Australia are customer success manager, data scientist, full stack engineer, cyber security expert, and experience designer, according to the 2018 Emerging Jobs report from LinkedIn.
But as technology keeps disrupting established industries, sinking some jobs and creating new roles, demand for skills changes constantly.
For example not all jobs in the tech sector need technical skills. About 43% of jobs are non-technical roles and this percentage is rising.
New business models such as Software as a Service (SaaS) have propelled job roles such as Customer Success Managers which were not that popular five years ago. Customer success jobs have grown 38% in the last 12 months.
Organisations now place immense value in maintaining positive engagement with customers.
These Australian executives were asked what the future holds for students planning a career:
Bob Easton, Chairman at Accenture Australia and New Zealand, says the world of work is evolving and will need changes to the way we educate people.
“Nobody knows exactly how it will change, but we can be sure that most jobs will evolve; some sectors will be severely disrupted,” he says.
“These jobs are reflective of the way technology is advancing and whilst some of the top five roles are relatively new, most of them have just evolved to focus on how human skills can be combined with deep technical skills to drive the best business outcomes.
“In fact, when you look at the broader technology landscape it isn’t surprising that these roles are in demand and as technologies such as blockchain further develop, these roles will become even more critical and the importance of certain skills will most certainly shift.”
He says business leaders must completely rethink how to prepare their work forces, from anticipating the skills their organisations will need, to how they will help people learn and evolve with the pace of technology.
A transformational change to the education system is also required. Australian workers will need to dip in and out of training throughout their entire careers, upskilling and reskilling without the need to stop working.
A significant number of school and university students today will graduate into jobs that don’t yet exist or have been significantly reshaped.
“The job for life is a thing of the past — today’s work force is changing and we’re seeing people increasingly need to re-skill and upskill with the advent of artificial intelligence technologies,” says Easton.
“Looking into the (near) future, digital acumen will be required, however even more importantly, will be good citizenship and ethics, human creativity, social emotions, resilience, curiosity and flexible mindsets, which cannot be mastered by an algorithm.
“It’s about combining creativity, analytical and digital skills, which will guide, train and work in conjunction with technology to drive the best outcomes for business and Australia.
“In a rapidly evolving business environment, as a current student, the key is being agile and open to new challenges and change. Particularly as the pace of change will never be as slow as it is today.”
The customer experience
Claire Fastier, the Australian head of InMoment, a US-based customer experience management company, says technology and roles within customer experience are becoming more in demand as competition intensifies with disruptor brands in every vertical.
“Putting strategies into place to keep customers engaged, turning rich customer metrics into meaning, and building products which offer positive user experience are all key to business success,” she says.
“Current and prospective university students should definitely consider the growth and demand in these areas when making decisions on their studies.
“Next time they go into their favourite store, or shop online, they should stop and think about the experience they are receiving and whether they could improve it, with the necessary skills.
“The experiences we receive from brands are part of all of our everyday lives, and if I was a student I would be pretty excited about the prospect of getting involved.”
The tech focus
Ben Pfisterer, Australian Country Manager at Square, the merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company, says almost every type of company is becoming more tech-focused.
“This is why roles requiring customer support, engineering, data and security skills are in high demand,” he says.
“These roles, however, must be complemented with a huge variety of other skillsets, which means any student that would like a career in tech can potentially be highly sought after by employers across many industries.
“While Australia has a very strong education system that continues to produce great talent for our workforce, we still lack diverse thinking among students who don’t fully understand all the opportunities available to them beyond traditional career paths.
“Australia is attracting and breeding more high-growth startups and tech companies than ever before, and these organisations can offer an incredibly diverse experience for graduates across the board.”
Pfisterer’s advice is to not assume that chasing employment in a competitive grad program, established global brand, or traditional blue chip company, straight out of university is always the best move for kickstarting a career.
“Try seeking out employers who you feel are leading innovators or creating interesting solutions, and never assume that because you studied a specific course at university, you have a limited pool of employers to choose from,” he says.
“Most people eventually come to the realisation in their career that they want to work for a company that they believe in, so why not pivot your thinking now to find a product or service you love, and see whether your education and enthusiasm is what they’re looking for. You might be surprised.”
The key is communication
Richard Watson, Country Director at Twilio, a cloud communications platform, says we are in the midst of a renaissance driven by the introduction of new infrastructure, devices, software and connectivity.
“This has largely been driven by the explosion of comms channels: just think about all the apps on our phones that we use to message compared to five years ago,” he says.
“What this means is there’s a greater need than ever for technologies which enable businesses to communicate on these channels effectively, as well as tools which help organisations to collect and interpret the rich customer data that these channels provide.
“And with this has come a significant rise in job roles that entail handling these technologies and utilising them to their full potential.
“This is where students can take note. Whether you’re a high school student deciding what modules to study or course to choose at university, or an undergrad looking at areas to upskill in; being aware of societal and business developments and what jobs are most in demand as a result, will help you make educated decisions and land the job you want.”
A curvy career
Rosalind Gregory, Director of Customer Success and Digital Transformation, Asia-Pacific, at Pivotal, a software and services company, says the path to customer success is not a straight one.
“I’d argue that a curvy career path is an advantage,” she says.
“Customer success is one role where diversity of experience is highly valued because the function itself is still evolving.
“Being able to demonstrate why you went to each job and even more importantly, what you learnt there and how you applied that knowledge is key.”
Empathy and communications skills are essential. Being able to clearly articulate value, interpret data and advocate on behalf of the customer is critical to success.
“One word of advice here, try to avoid using ‘like’ as conversation filler,” she says. “This is a turn-off as it generally indicates a lack of thought before speaking.”
Of the jobs available in tech, 43% are for non-technical roles.
“This figure will only grow as digital becomes the default operating mode,” she says.
“Not everyone in tech is a developer or designer. In today’s job market, you don’t have to be a coder to work in tech.
“If you’re looking for a long and fulfilling career with global opportunities, the tech industry could be for you. Explore what roles might help amplify your strengths. If you’re a people person who loves to solve problems, it could be customer success.”