Saturday, November 02, 2013

Middle level jobs are getting extinct

Middle level jobs are getting extinct.  Trends speak that teaching, community service and construction and admin jobs are losing sheen.Is this true? Before I provide a direct answer to this let me share some of my observations drawn over the years, as a HR consultant.
  • In the last two years India has seen middle management jobs vanishing from the organizational hierarchy.
  • The recruitment sentiment tends to be that “I am happy hiring 2 smart guys and pay them Rs. 8 lakhs each, rather than pay Rs.20 lakhs one super smart guy.”
  • US has seen loss of jobs in segments like teaching, construction and community service.
  • People with all-rounded experience are preferred versus highly skewed or monotonous skill sets.
Does all this mean that jobs are getting extinct? The answer is precisely ‘No’.
We are moving into a new era seeing the emergence of new types of jobs. The jobs which require people to have medium level skill sets are the ones which lack employability. The aspect we need to address here is whether the jobs lack employability or the job seekers. Jobs lack employability because to perform them, a new set of skills are required. Job seekers lack employability because they don’t have the necessary skills. Middle segment job seekers are not being employed because here is where, skills need to be enhanced at a faster rate than the high and low paid jobs.

There is a skill transplant required to these middle level jobs where job aspirants need to spend time in updating and equipping themselves with the new set of skill sets. This makes us delve further into a thought whether the skills acquired during college or in a professional course are insufficient for job seekers in these categories. Gap between the skills demanded by industry and those provided at college persists as long as both these ends don’t work towards enhancing skill relevance. Such gap leads to skill obsolescence.
The skill obsolescence occurs due to
-Lack of proactive learning within the industry: Colleges do not structure educational programs and degrees in a way to compel the student to develop proactive learning. These students who turn as job aspirants are struck hard by the surprise of proactive learning and adaptation demanded by industry to survive in a job.
-Replacement of jobs by technology: Jobs which are process driven are being replaced by tools and applications offered by technology. The accuracy of monitoring and administering the flow of such processes is higher when compared to a traditional sales or admin process.
-Need of new skills for existing jobs: An instance of modern marketers stands as an apt example. Traditional marketers were involved in hard selling and direct marketing. With the advent of digital marketing marketers are expected to hone their soft selling skills and other skills like writing, ideating and graphics.
-Industry demand: Each industry has different expectations from a single role. A tutor or a professor needs to deliver different skills to his students, to the university, to academia and to industry. Similarly a CIO would have different roles in the media industry versus healthcare industry.
-Cost advantage: This is the most obvious reason for skill obsolescence. Firms do not maintain room for skills which do not provide a cost advantage or any kind of value to the organization. Such skills are bid farewell.
Also, while being extremely involved in executing the job, the employee does not look into inherent inefficiencies in the execution process. These process gaps lead to invention of new skills that become the norm for the same employee to survive in the same job. Traditional teachers, salespeople and admins are being replaced by new process driven jobs like social media managers,content marketing, online tutors and trainers, virtual consultant and so on.

These new jobs are a revamp of old jobs with new direction and newer roles.

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