As we embark on a new labour market era and move towards a focus on job retention and automation, it is important to understand how this will impact our job search.
I had the privilege of speaking with Labour Market expert, Christian Saint Cyr on this very issue. Christian is a leading expert on British Columbia’s labour market. He is a publisher of the Labour Market Report and has facilitated over 250 labour market workshops.
Question: What is the fastest growing industry in the next 5 to 10 years compared to today? How will automation impact this?
Answer: Christian foresees that the services sector will be one of the fastest growing industries as it speaks to more of the personal services. For example, health and education jobs. We will still need workers to fill the need of personal contact, emotional and physical demands of a job.
The key competences of design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning are abilities that technology cannot do. Christian sees that the services sector will become more organized and that automation will support these jobs and not eliminate them.
Question: What is your favorite free resource to help job seekers understand the labour market?
Answer: Christian has two favorite free resources to help job seekers understand the labour market. Hands down, the WorkBC site is the best free resource when job searching. The site has information on many different occupations and really breaks down the labour market questions from salary expectations to what are the predictions for job sustainability.
The second is LinkedIn. The site provides meaningful connections and a chance to broaden your networks. This could be connecting with someone of interest to meet for coffee to ask them a few questions about their job, company or career path they took. This is an opportunity to really get an in-depth understanding of your interests.
Question: Is there a sector that is shifting in its gender balance compared to the sector’s history? Is this surprising to you?
Answer: We are seeing a gender balance/blend in business and creative occupations. Christian highlights that we are seeing more women in occupations of medicine and law. Furthermore, there is a growth in ratio of women to men in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) jobs, while trades continue to be outnumbered by men.
Question: We hear a lot about the importance of informational interviews – why do you think they are so important?
Answer: Informational interviews are important because they are different than reading a position description. When you have an informational interview, they give you a chance to get to know the job in greater depth. Meaning, it will give you the negative, challenges and day to day operations that you would not otherwise foresee from just the job description alone.
Question: Would you recommend social media as a resource for seeking informational interviews? Why or why not? What are your thoughts on attempting to make professional connections using Facebook versus LinkedIn?
Answer: Social media is an interactive platform to connect and get attention that you may not get from the conventional phone call method. Christian sees Facebook as a good tool in connecting on a more personal interest, but reminds us that Facebook is for social media.
Question: How would you recommend building your professional network?
Answer: Christian suggests a few tips to better build your professional network. Make a list of 10-20 companies you want to work with and follow them on social media (ex: LinkedIn, Twitter). Try to connect with individuals working in those companies. When you get a response, express your interest in learning more about the company.
Question: What are your top 5 tips for job search strategies?
Answer: These are Christian’s top 5 tips for a better job search strategy!
1) Mentorship: find someone you can ask important questions about the job or career path you could possibly take
2) Informational Interviews: connect with the right people and really understand the job.
3) Drop off resumes: in-personal connections are important and can give you an edge to your job search
4) Identify Decision Makers: Research companies through platforms like LinkedIn to identify decision makers
5) Networking events: networking is a great way to express your interest in companies, positions and let others know exactly what you are looking for
In closing, I asked Christian Saint Cyr if there were any final thoughts or reflections in which we did not cover. With that, Christian would like to underline the message that we are entering a “golden time for people who are skilled.” This means that vocational skills, training and qualifications will be crucial to the new labour market when job searching. It is a good time to start exploring the idea of specialization.