White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends: IT, LS, FT, and AME
Below are in-depth reviews of white color/white coat workforce trends in the general employment space, the engineering space, the advanced manufacturing space, the information & technology industry (IT), the life sciences industry (LS), and the Fintech (FT) sector. Under each category, five workforce-related trends are provided.
WHITE COLOR/WHITE COAT WORKFORCE TRENDS: IT, LS, FT, AND AME
1. General Work White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends
Below are the general trends expected to shape the current and future of white color/white coat workforce, including the trends include those resulting from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, to general trends affecting the white coat workforce for years. Below are more details, including statistical data (as available) for each trend.
- The nature of remote working has exposed white-collar employees to more remote working tools they can leverage to increase their job opportunities or start new ventures.
- With many big companies going remote for the foreseeable future, Americans are now connecting with their offices virtually and are likely to take on side gigs or even start their businesses.
- The current tools Americans are using for remote work can be repurposed to aid them to go solo. The idea of wanting to go solo stems from various factors, including monetizing the independence of working alone.
- These changes are more likely to be seen in some professions like engineering, marketing, media & publishing, and public relations. Consequently, a new era of entrepreneurship might emerge in America, driven by a "dash of social-existential angst."
- Experts warn that the okay to go remote may entice employees in expensive cities to shift to more affordable cities within the nation, leaving many offices in the big metros empty.
- Even before the crisis, many white-collar employees were already leaving America's biggest metros — Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, while downtown areas were losing population. Meanwhile, these cities were welcoming thousands of new millennial movers.
- Experts predict that the COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate the trend and push more employees out of big cities while welcoming new movers, predominantly—"young and middle-aged, college-educated, white-collar workers from urban areas."
- Overall, white-collar employees are quickly spreading throughout America, as many do not see the need to cluster near their headquarters or office locations.
- According to Upwork, an estimated 36% of workers in 2020 are doing freelance work full-time. Before the pandemic, most workers preferred freelance or contract jobs due to their flexibility and varied offers.
- However, currently, many white-collar employees have turned to freelance, not by choice, but out of necessity as many employers have also cut millions of full-time permanent positions.
- Despite freelance work's insecurity like unpredictable income and no benefits, many Americans are now using it as a means to survive. An economist working for ZipRecruiter also notes that when the pandemic hit, temporary job posting jumped from 24% to 34%.
- The freelance economy has exploded enormously according to Upwork, which contributes about $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy, a jump by 22% than in 2019.
- From March to August, the white-collar industry saw an unprecedented decrease in overall employment versus the industry's experience during the Great Recession.
- A recent report by hiring company — Indeed, job posting for higher-paying ranks, about $50,000 per year, remain 28% below 2019's trend. Equally, job postings offering around $30,000 or less have also declined by 12%.
- Economists argue that white-collar employers are not taking risks and hire higher-salaried employees during the pandemic. Some predict more damage to higher-paying jobs in the coming months if the economy stagnates again.
- Compared to the Great Recession, a Grant Thornton expert found out that white-collar employment in the information and technology sector has dipped 11.4% compared to 7.7% during the Great Recession.
- Analysts predict that in the medium and longer terms, the COVID-19 pandemic may support trends towards an increasingly gig-based workforce for those white-collar jobs that are not currently significantly gig-based.
- With many companies weighing the cost associated with remote work versus having functional physical offices, some may opt to have their entire workforce working remotely.
- Overall, with the ongoing implementation of work from home arrangements across industries, the long term cost-savings may prove tempting and long-lasting, promoting companies to have permanent remote workforce employees.
Employees Exploiting the Independence of Remote Working
Increasing Share of Freelance Workers
A Decrease in Overall Employment
More Gig-based Workforce in Sectors Not Currently Significantly Gig-based
2. White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends in Advanced Manufacturing
The rise of industry 4.0, the increasing demand for process optimization engineers, increasing demand for analytical skills, gains and losses in advanced manufacturing-related jobs, and the lack of sufficient programs in the U.S. offering technical training for advanced manufacturing are examples of white coat workforce trends in advanced manufacturing.
- Industry 4.0, i.e., the "fourth industrial revolution," is already impacting various U.S. science and engineering industries. The new engineering era is also demanding new skill sets from employees and giving rise to new job roles.
- For instance, industry 4.0 is likely to be driven by "artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data," which are already driving demand for AI and big data engineers, technicians, and technologists across many industry verticals.
- The increasing adoption of plant automation systems and robotics impacts how engineering can support enterprises across the entire product life cycle. The trend will likely increase worker productivity and reduce talent gaps in manufacturing.
- Equally, opportunities for "AI engineers, deep learning systems designers, and controls and instrumentation technicians" will expand into the future, as more industries are evolving towards AI-based solutions.
- The evolving engineering industry towards 'Industry 4.0' has altered the engineering function, especially focusing on process optimization systems across all major areas, like "product design, production, supply chain, and production planning and forecasting."
- In this regard, the demand for high-quality engineering continues to expand within the industry. In particular, there is widespread acceptance of process optimization systems across all domains of manufacturing.
- Therefore, there is an increase in demand for the right workforce to handle process optimization systems like Lean Six Sigma. The workforce in demand could include high-end engineers, production cost and quality experts, quality control engineers, other engineering experts, etc.
- In 2019, job postings for engineers show that almost 20% of the jobs demanded skills in quality assurance while 10% in Six Sigma systems and lean manufacturing, cumulatively comprising about 40% of all engineering job openings.
- The changing U.S. labor market, the growing emphasis on the green economy, and the adoption of new and emerging technologies underscore the importance of analytical skills in the new advanced manufacturing era, including mathematics, programming, and science.
- Likewise, the emphasis on the environment and the sustainable use of resources has stimulated employment in some engineering and production professions, often calling for mechanical proficiency.
- A review of newer and older engineering occupations reveals that newer roles like energy and nanosystems engineers use scientific expertise more intensively, elevating the importance rating for science in the newer roles to an average of 2.52, versus 1.89 among older occupations.
- The emergence of the green economy has increased the demand for new and emerging engineering roles, such as biofuels production managers, climate change analysts, hydrologists, industrial engineers, and solar energy systems engineers.
- The current U.S. workforce needs to prepare for the changes, i.e., benefits and losses emanating from the growing adoption of robotics for advanced manufacturing. Firms, consumers, workers, and the larger economy will be impacted.
- For instance, some employees might benefit from their higher educational levels and technical skills. Simultaneously, those with less education might lose their current occupations and find it hard to get new ones, largely because automating some manufacturing processes leads to a decline in the number of workers needed to complete a job.
- In this regard, all the affected stakeholders would have to respond accordingly to mitigate the negative impacts of transitioning to advanced manufacturing using AI and robotics; thus, the less educated and vulnerable employees must act fast.
- Currently, there are fewer programs in the U.S. higher learning institutions offering technical training for advanced manufacturing.
- Researchers reviewed 2,407 four-year universities and colleges and 1,476 two-year colleges in the U.S. and found out that only about 0.27% of the approximately 271,497 unique higher education programs directly focus on technician training in manufacturing.
- Equally, an estimated 0.1% of all post secondary programs in the U.S. serving undergraduate students relate directly to manufacturing and end in a bachelor's degree. Importantly, experts are concerned whether these few programs can adequately train a sufficient number of advanced manufacturing technicians.
- Overall, the advanced manufacturing workforce will likely continue facing a skill gap, considering these few programs cannot train the required number of technicians to fulfill the ever-increasing job opportunities in advanced manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 New Workforce Demands
Increasing Demand for Process Optimization Engineers
Increasing Demand for Analytical Skills
Gains and Losses in Advanced Manufacturing Related Jobs
Fewer Programs in the U.S. Offer Technical Training for Advanced Manufacturing
3. White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends in Engineering
A persistent shortage of engineering talent, fewer students taking stem careers, strong communication skills, a growing number of women in science and engineering professions, and American minorities in the science & engineering workforce are examples of white coat workforce trends in engineering.
- In spite of the persistent shortage of engineering talent, the engineering industry continues to grow and evolve. Nevertheless, employers continue to hire in this space, and could potentially look to hire more talent in the future.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineering job opportunities are predicted to increase at an average rate because of increased demand in occupations like “infrastructure, renewable energy, oil & gas extraction, and robotics. "
- In 2019, there were a total of 11,615 job postings for automation and robotics engineers; 98,462 for civil/structural engineers; 88,757 for electrical/electronic engineers; and 1,962 for petroleum engineers. On the other end, the industry needs to create about 140,000 new engineering jobs by 2026, despite engineers making up less than 2% of the overall workforce.
- Overall, the shortage of engineering talent means finding individuals to fill these roles remains a challenge. Moreover, the current pipeline is not promising and the current number do not indicate whether a solution can be reached anytime soon.
- Another concern for the engineering industry is the dipping enrollment numbers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers, coupled with a rapidly aging engineering workforce.
- Economically minded columnists, policy experts, and politicians continue to argue that college students should train in STEM courses, rather than pursue careers considered less pragmatic and skills demanded rarely.
- Unfortunately, other research reveals that the income benefits of STEM careers are declining. From 2000, economists have uncovered that managerial, professional, and technical occupations have stagnated significantly in both the “number of jobs and their wage growth.”
- In 2020, American universities were forecasted to fill only 29% of an estimated 1.4 million computer specialist job opportunities expected to be available in 2020. In this regard, there remains a major challenge in encouraging more students to pursue STEM related careers.
- The current and future engineering workforce is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, meaning engineers must equip themselves with strong communication skills. Today’s machines from smartphones to MRI systems feature hardware, software, electrical, and mechanical components all working collaboratively.
- On that note, future engineers will need to acquire soft communication skills to enable them to communicate with others working in engineering environments, along with the advanced and interconnected machines they use.
- Communication is among the top skills lacking in today’s job applications, according to the Society of Human Resource Management’s “2019 State of the Workplace” report.
- Overall, communication as a skill remains vital to the job of the engineer. Thus, some U.S., learning institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are focusing on developing well-rounded graduates.
- An analysis of the demographic trends in science and engineering labor force reveal that the number of women with science & engineering degrees has doubled over the past 20 years, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF).
- Unfortunately, despite these gains women have made in the science and engineering space, they remain underrepresented in general, with notable exceptions.
- In 2017, women accounted for about 29% of workers in the science and engineering workforce, up from 23% in 1993. Among the science and engineering degree holders, female employees represented approximately 40% of employed individuals, up from 34% in 1993.
- Overall, as of 2017, on average, 16% of all engineers were women, with the range varying from about “7% of mechanical engineers to 25% of chemical engineers.”
- Underrepresentation of certain minorities in the U.S. has been a major concern or policymakers aiming to develop and employ diverse human capital to enhance the U.S.’ global competitiveness in science and engineering.
- Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians make a big portion of the U.S. population, but very few receive science and engineering degrees or work in these occupations. Contrary, Asians and Whites tend to share equally science and engineering degrees and occupations.
- The proportion of Whites and Asians is higher in both science and engineering careers compared to Blacks and Hispanics, who are less than 10% each relative to percentage of the national population.
- Between 1995 and 2017, the representation of Asians and Hispanics in science and engineering has increased greatly. Likewise, the share of Blacks has risen slightly, while the representation of White engineers and scientists has decreased.
Persistent Shortage of Engineering Talent
Fewer Students Taking STEM Careers
Strong Communication Skills
Growing Number of Women in Science and Engineering Professions
American Minorities in Science & Engineering Workforce
4. White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends in Information Technology
Cloud-based computing employee management solutions, computer hired employees, virtual and augmented reality to accelerate employee training, workforce mobility, and the rise of data officers are examples of white coat workforce trends in information technology.
- In the IT sector, employee management has migrated to cloud-based computing tools. The rise of cloud-based employee management solutions have brought an end to private enterprise networks.
- Even though private networks have been closed off completely, they are often used when accessing employee reserved information. While customers and guests can still use public networks to access specific company information, many IT organizations opt for hybrid cloud solutions.
- These hybrid solutions allow companies to make some information accessible to the public, including product information, customer content, general company information, etc., and keeping other information private and only accessible to employees.
- Companies leaning into this trend rely on hosting companies to handle the infrastructure and stay abreast of current and future technology trends, reinventing the workspace. Importantly, these hosting companies also secure company information and employee personal data.
- The IT sector has transformed drastically and continues to expand AI usage across all industry facets, including recruiting new employees.
- In today's fast-paced economy, finding qualified people to fill company positions is time-consuming; hence, the use of modern job hunting software that can analyze millions of potential employees' social profiles and generate a list of the most qualified individuals for a position.
- AI enables IT companies to automatically send notifications to shortlisted candidates and engage them in a conversation without spending a lot of time with employees who might not be interested in working for the company.
- The adoption of computer-based hiring solutions do not have the same biases as human recruiters, implying that highly qualified candidates cannot be overlooked because of appearance, personal preference, personality, etc.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) usage has been expanding in the recent past, with adoption beyond the gaming industry. In today's complex IT sector, AR and VR are being used to boost employee training.
- By adopting AR and VR into the human resources function, IT companies can easily "overlay information and virtual objects on real-world scenes in real-time," and use VR to immerses the employees into a different dimension and virtual environment.
- Employers in 2020 are increasingly tapping into AR and VR to support hiring employees, training them, and retaining them with VR simulations. AR and VR can help train employees in hands-on job roles like manufacturing professionals; thus, offer them an opportunity to learn and practice new skills before going to the field.
- A recent study on medical students who participated in VR training for a particular procedure found that using VR enabled them to complete the training 20% faster and finished 38% more steps accurately than the group that used traditional training methods.
- Workforce mobility continues to trend as more employees are equipped with new technological solutions that promote mobility.
- The increasing adoption of 5G technology and that now the average employee has 5G enabled smartphone has fueled workforce mobility growth than before.
- The continued evolution of technologies, especially telecommunication solutions such as 5G, will alter tomorrow's workplace completely and boost workforce mobility beyond the IT industry.
- Today's, supervisors and managers use "social media, web-based content management systems (CMS) and online spreadsheets" to connect with their workforce and monitor their output.
- The recent release of the Federal Data Strategy 2020 Year One Action Plan by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) reveals an unprecedented opportunity into the future to leverage data as a strategic asset.
- In this regard, new roles will emerge around managing and handling the data the Federal government intends to collect.
- Institutions around the world are also realizing the importance of having data officers, facilitated by the growing importance of information technology and data analytics.
- Overall, the number of positions likely to be open within this space is estimated to be many and continue to increase as more businesses show interest in having someone proficient in this.
Cloud-Based Computing Employee Management Solutions
Computer Hired Employees
Virtual and Augmented Reality to Accelerate Employee Training
Rise of Data Officers
5. White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends in Life sciences
Building an engaged and productive workforce, hiring for highly skilled talent for value-add jobs, expanding job growth in life sciences, growing demand for specific life sciences occupations and increased outsourcing to drive operational efficiency are examples of white coat workforce trends in life sciences.
- One of the vital workforce trends in the life sciences industry is developing an engaged and productive workforce.
- Life sciences employees are expected to become more agile. Equally, employers need to be flexible, especially when evaluating performances. Life sciences companies should then identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that focus on developing customer engagement and trust.
- Employers need to streamline their performance measurements to reflect how employees work today and their working environments.
- Besides developing KPIs to measure employees, there is an increasing expectation of hiring managers to deliver adequate support to employees during remote working. For example, putting short-term milestones on projects can help boost employee accountability and promote flexibility and agility in the workspace.
- Employers are now hiring highly skilled employees to handle the ever-transforming jobs in the digital space.
- In this regard, future life sciences employees need to be highly skilled and with the ability to navigate the fast-changing and highly-digitized environment.
- Therefore, the ideal candidates need to be more flexible and have the passion and willingness to experiment and take risks. Likewise, these employees need to learn the agility required to manage complex workloads and environments efficiently.
- Overall, the life sciences workforce market expects new and up-coming skills and jobs to flood the biomanufacturing and pharmaceutical, medical technology space.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs across life, physical and social sciences sectors will grow 7% by 2028, faster than the average growth for all other occupations.
- Arithmetically, the BLS predicts about 97,400 new jobs in life, physical, and social sciences within the next decade. The data dovetails nicely with the idea that global healthcare spending is forecasted to exceed $10 trillion by 2022.
- While the U.S. faces a shortage of talent across many industries, the life sciences sector must rethink its hiring strategy to keep apace with demand, considering that occupations' growth often come with increased talent shortages, whereby there are more job openings than the existing job talent.
- According to research, some occupations in the life sciences sector will likely experience tremendous demand over the coming years.
- The job outlook for epidemiologists from 2018 to 2028 shows that this occupation will grow at a rate of 5%, creating an additional 400 jobs. Biomedical engineers are also expected to grow at 4% and create an additional 700 jobs.
- Other jobs poised to grow and their corresponding growth rate include genetic counselors at 27% (3,000 additional jobs); zoologists and wildlife biologists at 5% and add 900 jobs; microbiologists at 5% and add 1,100 more jobs, chemical technicians at 2% and add 1,200 jobs, biochemists and biophysicists at 6% and add 1,900 jobs, etc.
- Biological technicians, medical scientists, and medical & clinical laboratory technologists & technicians are expected to register the fastest growth rates at 7% (5,700 additional jobs); 8% (10,600 more jobs); and 11% (35,100 more jobs), respectively.
- A recent Deloitte report predicts that the life sciences industry will increase outsourcing to drive operational efficiency in the future.
- Many companies within this space are expected to focus on more strategic outsourcing alliances, including adopting a hybrid of outsourcing models.
- The shifting outsourcing capabilities are expected to be more visible in AI, cloud computing, cognitive automatic, and robotics to enhance productivity and minimize costs.
Building an Engaged and Productive Workforce
Hiring for Highly Skilled Talent for Value-add Jobs
Positive Job Growth Forecast in Life Sciences
Growing Demand for Specific Life Sciences Occupations
Increased Outsourcing to Drive Operational Efficiency
6. White Color/White Coat Workforce Trends in Fintech
Human resources management automation, new career opportunities, tech skills increasingly dominating financial services, the human element in financial services, and Fintech support for U.S. employees, are examples of white coat workforce trends in Fintech.
Human Resources Management Automation
- In the Fintech space, human resources management was one of the least automated function in the sector.
- However, new software like Workday and 15Five are developing platforms that can assist workflow with related systems that support staff management in Fintech.
- Today’s Fintech companies increasingly recognize the value of their employees and need to be managed efficiently and more thoughtfully.
- In this regard, many Fintech companies will continue to adopt new technologies and solutions to help them automate their human resource function.
- In a fast-paced and tech-centric industry like Fintech, new jobs are being created every day. Fintech employees are expected to adopt new skills and experiences that they can transfer to many other fields and environments.
- For instance, marketing consultants can still apply their communication skills to adapt to new work environments within the cloud and data technology space. Therefore, possessing other transferrable skill sets like being open-minded, agile, and adaptable can be an added advantage and a competitive edge for the employee.
- Equally, cloud developers, including data analysts and scientists, should be familiar with concepts of business risk analysis, improving processes, and understanding how engineering systems function.
- What this new trend means is that niche skill sets can remain a vital requirement for many companies; however, having experience in other industries augments the competitive value of such employees.
- Tech skills are increasingly dominating the financial services market, where much of the growth in the sector is driven by technology. Therefore, today’s business environment demands employers to align their workforce for the new view of customer-centricity.
- Many talented professionals in Fintech identify with skills in IT, data science, programming, and algorithm, among others. Thus, few employees can perform more tasks using technological tools, reducing face-to-face employees.
- For example, analyst jobs in Fintech are becoming less prominent. Employers can retain top analysts in their companies; however, lower level analysts can be replaced by Robo-analysts.
- Within the Fintech sector, computer science majors are being demanded more than traditional business degrees. On that note, a significant portion of banking occupations will be lost to AI, automation, and tech experts within the next five years.
- While it appears that AI and automation may replace most individuals in the workspace, the face-to-face human element in financial services will continue to matter, especially in financial services that are less prone to automation.
- For example, automation and AI cannot replace mergers & acquisition experts because of the high degree of human analytical capabilities required in deal-making.
- Other jobs within the financial services sector that AI and automation cannot replace include “consulting engagements; capital raising on equity that require storytelling, qualitative analysis, and relationships; product development; and product management.”
- Overall, many roles within the financial services will be affected by AI, automation, and IT professionals, however, some few functions will not experience significant software and digital disruption.
- U.S. Fintech companies have significantly supported the workforces of many companies, big, small, and corporations, owing to the technological advancements made in Fintech that continue to support employees in many companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, many businesses lacked ways to pay employees, considering that most banks and financial services institutions were closed.
- Nevertheless, Fintech companies proved useful in helping such companies pay their workforce. For instance, research notes that Fintech companies offered loans in less than a day to some businesses to pay their employees.
- Overall, the convenience Fintech companies provide is what the economy needs to maintain workplaces and many individuals in the U.S.
Human Resources Management Automation
New Career Opportunities
Tech Skills Dominate Financial Services
The Human Element in Financial Services
U.S. Fintech Companies Support for Employees
While the research uncovered numerous white color/white coat workforce trends in IT, LS, FT, engineering, and advanced manufacturing sectors, the reports explored did not seem to feature research focused on identifying trends regarding where the workforce in these industries are looking for jobs, including the type of company, geographic location, etc. Only general employment trends indicated that most employees are either opting for freelance jobs or starting their businesses. Overall, the trends provided above include those resulting from the effects of COVID-19 and those witnessed earlier before the corona virus outbreak.