Business Today

Time to go skill shopping before job hopping

It's imperative that those entering colleges start studying the widening portfolio of new jobs opening up. The scope of jobs is expanding every day.

twitter-logo Chitra Narayanan        Last Updated: January 21, 2015  | 14:31 IST

Chitra Narayanan
Chitra Narayanan
Every year during the placement season news coming out of India's engineering campuses is that jobs in core functions are drying up. So much so that many of our graduating engineers are now settling for jobs in technical support and so on.

Has the message finally gone home to students?  For the first time in years, the number of aspirants for the all India joint engineering entrance exam (JEE) has seen a big drop - a fall of 50,000.

Compared to the 13.56 lakh who applied for the screening test last year, only 13.03 lakh students have registered this year. Hopefully, the students who did not apply have gone on to pick up emerging skill sets.

But it's not just engineering where the core jobs are drying up. As businesses go through rapid transformation, there is an equally speedy evolution in jobs too.

Technology has been one of the biggest factors speeding up the rate of change in job functions. As the father of the Internet Vinton Cerf told a gathering of businessmen recently, "The rate of change in technology impacts the rate of change of jobs." While hiring for core job functions has remained static, newer, exciting jobs are opening up everywhere.

Take advertising agencies. There was a time when ad agencies just needed three skills - strategy, account management and creative - to provide solutions to clients.

Today, according to Colvyn Harris, the newly appointed Executive Director, Global Growth and Client Development at JWT, it's moved to eight skills ranging from experiential design to social media and retail.

Vincent Diggonet, Executive Chairman, APAC, of digital agency Razorfish, feels the agency of today needs at least 10 different skills between technology, data analytics, experience design, behavioural understanding of people, and ethnography.

He says that while agencies are still hiring people for core functions like planning and strategy, they are hiring far fewer but looking for better candidates in those. There's absolutely no room for mediocrity.

In other words, competition in core jobs is going to get higher and higher.

That's why it's imperative that those entering colleges start studying the widening portfolio of new jobs opening up. The scope of jobs is expanding every day.

Not a day goes by without you encountering yet another job title as companies scramble to create new openings for new skills. Why, just a couple of days ago, to my delight, I got an invite on LinkedIn from a "Chief Listening Officer".  Now, who wouldn't like that job!

In the brave new world, the way to stand out is to go shop for new skills and create a brand new title for yourself. Smart students will get on the early bus to these jobs.


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