Want To Prepare For Jobs Of The Future? Join The Hybrid Revolution.

We all know how automation, AI, and digital tools have changed our jobs. We spend more than a quarter of our time on e-mail, we have to juggle dozens of passwords, and we spend more than four hours a day on our phones. But how has all this technology impacted our jobs and careers?

New research by Burning Glass Technologies, a company that analyzes nearly a billion job postings and employee resumes from millions of companies, now gives us the picture. Jobs are becoming more hybrid and complex, and now demand four important new sets of skills. If you build these skills, you can march up the earning curve and stay competitive in your field.

What does hybrid job mean? The research found that the highest-paying jobs of the future are complex and multi-disciplinary, often blending left brain (logical, organized) and right brain (creative, artistic).

The research shows these jobs are often specialist roles (data scientist, security analyst, product manager, marketing manager, UI designer). This may include design, user experience, data analysis and interpretation, as well as business acumen. And as a result of this hybrid nature, they are skyrocketing in value. 

In fact, these hybrid jobs are growing at twice the rate of the overall job market. They are 20-40% higher-paying than their more traditional counterparts, and they are now found in every domain of business.

Let me cite some examples.

  • In marketing and public relations, a new family of jobs requiring analytics skills (marketing manager, digital marketing manager) require a combination of right brain thinking (creative design) with left brain thinking (analytics and analysis) to succeed. Today’s advertising managers are creative designers and analysts rolled into one.
  • In computer science and machine learning, the opposite has occurred. Once considered highly technical jobs, these jobs require writing skills, problem-solving skills, creative and research skills, and skills in teamwork and collaboration. So just like the marketing manager who is now an analyst, the software engineer or data scientist is now a business person, designer, and team worker.
  • Highly analytic jobs, like a financial analyst or scientist, now require skills in visual communications, creative thinking, and consulting. 

These hybrid jobs (about 12% of all job openings fall into this category) are not only growing fast and well paid, but they also are immune to automation. While single-role jobs can be automated, hybrid work can only be done by people. Software can analyze data, but we need people to interpret the analysis, apply it, and make sure it’s ethical and valid. 

And this trend is growing. Burning Glass’s research shows that 42% of normal jobs can be automated, but only 12% of highly hybrid jobs can. They’re what you may call “Superjobs.”.

What are the skills you need to build? They fall into four broad areas.

First, you must develop skills in digital tools and digital technology.

We are all now “augmented” by machines, so your ability to learn new systems, configure and customize these tools, and code them, if necessary, is critical. Don’t be afraid to learn how to build a macro or customize a system to your needs: that’s your human value-add. Marketing managers who know SQL, for example, make 41% more money than those who do not.

Second, you must be comfortable with analytics and data.

Of all the skills we see growing, data analytics, including interpretation, visualization, and communication, is one of the most important. Every one of these high-paying jobs (customer service manager, health care advisor, sales professional) requires facility with analytics and data.

Third, you must understand the fundamentals of business and management.

One in three IT jobs requires business and management skills. A total of 57% of engineering positions now require business and leadership skills. Overall, jobs that require business management experience have an average salary premium of 19%. And workers who have experience in project management make 21% more than those who do not.

Fourth, you must now think like a designer or creative.

More than half (54%) of all IT jobs now require some form of digital design. More than one-quarter (26%) of technology jobs now require design – as well as 815,000 job openings last year outside of IT, in fields that span from business analysis to finance to manufacturing.

Meanwhile, jobs as user-interface or other types of design are growing at 35% per year. While machines can automate and recommend decisions, we need people to design the user experiences, nudges, and user interfaces we use every day.

Even technologists are not immune from these changes. Today, the hottest skills are in machine learning, R, and new coding tools. Software engineers who don’t keep up also see their salaries plateau, so even the most technical professionals have to keep up.

We Have Seen This Wave Before

In some ways, this is how jobs and careers have always evolved. Automation changes every job over time, and if we don’t move up the “value curve” we can fall behind.

The typist who worked in the steno pool in the 1970s became an executive assistant in the 1980s and 1990s and is now a customer service agent or sales support specialist today.

What’s different this time, however, is both the pace and combinations we see. Who would have guessed that the most valuable marketing managers know SQL? Who would have expected an engineer to understand the ethics and design aspects of their code? Technical disciplines are merging.

I think the theme of “lifelong learning” is the biggest finding of the study. The research found that only 16% of these high-powered hybrid jobs are entry level.

These are skills we learn through years of experience and self-development. If you aren’t spending a few hours a week “sharpening the saw” in your career toolbox, you are likely falling behind.

In a recent study of 2,800 professionals, we found the number one issue that makes someone leave their job is “inability to learn and grow.” We as employers and as employees must make sure continuous learning is built into the flow of work. This enables us all to become more “hybrid” in our own special way.

The idea of a “renaissance man” is more important than ever. Leonardo da Vinci was highly esteemed for his broad knowledge of many fields. Today, we all have to become more da Vinci-like in our careers – it’s the secret of success in the digital world ahead.

(Read more about how the economy has impacted salaries and what we can do to fix the problem.)