A Changing Job Market Goes Hybrid

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The needed for blended skills is driving design of hybrid job descriptions.

Continued migration of tech and software into business and everyday use is giving rise to a new class of job—the hybrid job.  Like the name implies, hybrid jobs take a little of this, and a little of that to make something unique—and oftentimes better.

New hybrid jobs are combining tech skills such as programming with design, data analysis, marketing, or communications.  The result is a powerful skill set with a broad application.

A study from Burning Glass focused on labor developments around hybrid jobs.  In a market analysis for Bentley University, the research illustrates the expansion of hybrid job descriptions to incorporate previously stand-alone job titles.

For example, the study finds job postings for social media strategists has declined by more than 50 percent in the last several years.  Yet, HR postings that require skill with social media strategies have risen more than 300 percent, with similar incorporation of social media skills in sales and marketing jobs.

Notes Gloria Larson, president of Bentley University, “based on the data analysis, now is the time for the hybrid job – and the hybrid employee…(T)he successful employee of tomorrow will need to combine traditional soft skills such as communication and collaboration with the hard, technical skills that used to belong to a select tech-savvy group.” 

What do we know about hybrid jobs?

We talked earlier about a trend toward job trialing.  Hybrid jobs are a similar disruption in the job ecosystem.  According to Burning Glass, hybrid jobs have a lot going for them, and are not out of reach for those who come prepared.  Some key points of the Burning Glass study include:

  • Hybrid jobs are typically a combination of technical and data driven functions. Titles might include User Experience Designers, Digital Marketer, or Product Manager.
  • Automation and sophisticated but easy-to-use, technical tools allow non-specialists to add lower level technical capabilities to their skills tool kit with relative ease.
  • Training for in-demand hybrid jobs can be gained outside of a university setting.
  • Starting salaries for hybrid jobs are closer to entry-level IT salaries, and above the national starting salary average.

The blending of specialties to suit new needs is the nature of technological and workplace development.  As we discussed earlier, the need to future proof the workforce means hiring talent that is adaptable to tech and other trends.

While the Burning Glass study discusses hybrid positions focused on IT, design, and data applications, it is reasonable to assume clustering of skill sets into novel positions will become commonplace in the job market and within internal business teams.

At its most flexible, hybrid adaptability allows for project teams to form and dissolve around a particular commercial or design need.  Taking advantage of clustered skill sets and adaptive personnel gives a company the ability to staff up using its own human resource to create an internal “gig economy.”

The Burning Glass study indicates many of the high-demand IT-driven hybrid positions are primarily the product of “technical hubs” located in Seattle, Portland, San Jose, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New York.

At present, the hybrid jobs discussed are part of the category of hard-to-fill positions that underpin the “war for talent.”  Study authors of the Burning Glass research also point out that hybrid roles can serve as gateways into the tech workforce, and that hybrid jobs are “skills cocktails” that could be served by “intensive short-term technical training” in order to get the job done—and the positions filled.

Significant changes in training, recruiting, and job classification are underway. More than a war, current change is driving a search for adaptive talent, flexible, focused training options, and less emphasis on siloed skill sets.

If your HR department has not already identified the need for hybrid workers, chances are good it will soon.  When you need to create and resource overlapping talent pools, turn to BrightMove for focused support.


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