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Experts Weigh in on Current Job Market Trends

Zippa spoke to professors and experts, including Institute Director, Dr. Amy Tuininga, to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared.

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Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.

Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they’ve learned and apply it immediately.

Amy’s Thoughts

In your opinion, what are the biggest trends we’ll see in the job market given the pandemic?
Many positions are moving to remote work, resulting in reduced commuting, less dedicated office space per employee, slightly more flexible work schedules, more deliverable-based work, and broad cross-geographic teams working together from different home locations. We see other trends moving to more analytics and tech/electronic sector positions and fewer positions in the service and hospitality industries. This means that graduates may need to rethink their skill set and be ready to apply it to different sectors than they had initially anticipated. For Sustainability, this means more focus on data analysis and reporting in areas such as climate change, emissions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste, supply chain, and food security.
What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent in the field in the next 3-5 years?
Efforts are moving most expeditiously toward developing renewable energy and energy storage, more efficient and more environmentally friendly types of renewable energy, human-interface technologies related to this such as smart thermostats and smart meters, and developing access for all communities – energy justice and a Just Transition. The second is mapping using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – smart technology integrated with global positioning and drones.
Will there be an increase or decrease in demand for graduates in this field in the next 5 years?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that jobs related to renewable energy – particularly solar energy and, to a slightly lesser extent, off-shore wind energy – would show the most significant increases in employment over the next decade. Some of these data, though, are based on the 2010 census. It will be interesting to see the new set of data coming out from the 2020 census. Regardless, the solar industry is increasing.

Read the other professors’ and experts’ responses on Zippa’s website!