Professions of the future: how the labour market will change in the near future

Have you ever thought about the importance of your profession in the long-term perspective? According to the research of European scientists, in the next ten years, the global labour market will undergo significant changes, and the employment of the population will be redistributed. Those professions that are still very much in demand today may very soon turn out to be unnecessary, or the demand for them can be significantly reduced. Therefore, our state as a whole and Ukrainians, in particular, must now prepare for new economic realities, so that the situation does not take them by surprise.

As of February 2017, 439,000 unemployed were registered in Ukraine, and eight people claimed for one declared vacancy. At the same time, the statistics of people registered on labour exchanges shows that the lion's share of unemployed people is people of pre-retirement age. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of those who are already over fifty will not easily adapt to the new conditions in the labour market and engage in their own retraining. However, the state, for its part, must do everything to ensure that Ukrainians could adapt to the new realities.

In the world, today can be traced at the same time two trends. On the one hand, there is a growing demand for low-skilled workers, such as security guards or nursing professionals, on the other hand, employers are interested in highly qualified specialists in the field of electronic data processing and law.

In the European Union, it was conducted research, and it was found out what changes will occur in various areas of employment in 2015-2025. Economists forecast an 18 % decrease in employment in such sectors as coal mining and agriculture, and employment in the energy and gas sectors will be reduced by 10 %. At the same time, employment will increase by 20  % in such areas as real estate, science and technology, 15 % in the administrative and support services and 10 % in education. In construction and logistics virtually no change will occur.

As the current statistics shows, the largest share of the unemployed in Ukraine is observed among people with higher education – 41 %, vocational education has 38 % of Ukrainians, and only one in five unemployed has an only secondary education. In general, we have a relatively high formal level of workers' education combined with their unpreparedness for the demands of the labour market and the lack of knowledge and skills that employers need. To rapidly respond to changes in the labour market is hampered by the fact that Ukraine lacks the system of adult education and professional development. However, this problem is not only in Ukraine. Studies, conducted in the EU, show that 35 % of workers of Western, 49 % of Central and more than 60 % of Eastern European countries do not work for acquired specialities.

Studies of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine that are being carried out in monitoring mode since 1992 show that about 60 % of Ukrainians cannot find a job in their speciality. The participation of employers in the training of personnel, previously amounting to 60 % of the total investment, has almost ceased. In fact, today it is time to update the educational programs in accordance with the needs of the market.

The state should now reconsider the list of specialities for which it makes an order in universities, in order to select those that will be most needed in the near future. In Ukraine, a person spends 3-4 years on obtaining a speciality. Therefore the state order and the request from employers for the actual workforce should be planned based on a vision of economic development and production for at least ten years ahead. Does our state have such a vision? What model of the economy do we develop? Which industries are growing, and which, on the contrary, are curtailing? The ISER experts answered all these questions in the Policy of Economic Pragmatism.

Ukraine already now needs to study the professions of the future and start with such an algorithm: the choice of the model of economic development, the definition of priority areas, the state and private order for obtaining the appropriate education, and only then – the preparation of programs to promote employment, which are now implemented through the social sphere. Why is this important? The imbalance of supply and demand in the labour market leads to an increase in structural unemployment and the level of external labour migration. To ensure economic growth rates of at least 6-7 % per year, Ukraine needs to build a high-tech and export-oriented model of the economy, that is, to train more scientists, engineers, programmers, educators.

(The Article was published at the Liga.net on March 27, 2017)