Thanks to a younger generation of workers and ever-changing technology, a major change in the workplace is underway.
The millennial generation, now more than 80-million strong, comprises those born between 1980 and the early 2000s. The generation is strong in numbers, yes, but its strength in ideology is what has created an evolution in the workforce.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in March speaks to this evolution and about the sentimentality—or lack thereof—of this new generation. It found that “[y]oung adults born in the early 1980s held an average of 6.2 jobs” in eight years. In other words, there is far less job loyalty which translates to constant change in the workplace.
It’s a new generation of workers and learners that are always on the go, and the local landscape is changing to meet that mobile demand. The New Jersey Community College Consortium For Workforce and Economic Development is working with Camden County College to utilize “mobile learning labs,” 8-foot trailers outfitted with the latest technologies for students to take advantage of outside of the college campus.
Started in late April, this fully-loaded trailer brings training tools right to the source; that is, whatever business or campus is in need of assistance. Interested residents don’t have to travel far to access educational tools that can provide them with modern skills in techniques about things like precision gauging, electronic motor control, pneumatics systems and more.
These trailers are especially beneficial in the manufacturing field, which has gone high-tech and has subsequently seen a growth in jobs, according to Sivaraman Anbarasan, executive director of the consortium. Unemployed locals or young millenials entering the job market can find new skills for a future career right in their own backyard.
These labs have helped “more than 100 people find jobs,” Anbarasan says. “Now, these labs can go to where the jobs are.”
In addition to the tangible manufacturing growth, Anbarasan sees a second trend in virtual technology. “We think there will be a strong trend toward big-data [large volumes of information] marketing analytics within the next few years,” he predicts.
Mike Vertolli, CEO of ComTec Systems, Inc., based in Vineland, agrees. “We have certainly seen the demand for computing power grow among our client base as they utilize more of the big data.”
The market has seen a shift thanks to the “on-the-go movement” that goes beyond manufacturing. “In the past few years, we've seen a huge trend among our clients toward cloud-based and virtual technology solutions that provide their workers with greater flexibility and mobility,” Vertolli says. As more and more workers switch from the traditional desktop and take their business on the road, and with almost every business embracing online tools, the demand for more has to be met.
Vertolli says they are “seeing bandwidth needs grow as more companies move processes that were traditionally off-line, online.”
Look at the locally headquartered BAYADA Home Health Care, which started in Moorestown but has since gone international. BAYADA has seen the need for a greater digital presence thanks to the universal push toward all things technological and virtual, influenced largely by the tech-savvy millenial generation that, according to Vertolli, is “changing the way we all think and interact with technology.”
Digital sales and marketing has boomed at BAYADA, and BAYADA social media manager Erica Metzger sees young positions like hers becoming a necessity to businesses of all sizes. While titles like social media manager or digital marketing director positions are relatively new with limited federal data to compare, similarly titled positions such as marketing specialists and analysts, are some of the fastest growing in the nation.
Younger employers are to thank for all sorts of new, social-media and web-based titles, and have forced companies to utilize technology in new, social ways. Social media is no longer “a water spout,” Metzger points out. Now, companies are using social media to craft “their messages and branding to foster conversations focused on strong brand recognition, customer service, and lead acquisition.” And with that comes more jobs, more opportunities, and more growth across platforms that didn’t exist a decade ago.
“Millennials are having a major impact on the way companies operate, specifically when it comes to the way they use technology,” says Vertolli, who sees the advancement of younger workers and technology creating a need for new positions in even older, more established businesses. Vertolli is seeing those businesses “shed some of the conservatism they have traditionally had when it comes to technology.”
But the work of a social media manager can be quickly lost in the web’s whirlpool of “big data,” which leads to more analytical marketing positions designed to reign in content for optimal usage. One new position necessary in a company looking to capitalize on the power to manipulate data is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist. “The SEO specialist involves several components necessary to make your website perform,” says Metzger. “[They] know that if search engines, such as Google, can’t reach your website, then everything else completed for the website will not be successful. Appointing an SEO specialist to monitor web ranking is essential for building organic traffic.”
Positions like the SEO specialist will continue to expand, especially in New Jersey. In a report released in October 2012, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development forecast a 28 percent growth in marketing over the next 10 years. And with millenials helping to reshape the business landscape, and even more young adults graduating each year, it seems like these new marketing positions are ready and waiting for a future generation of innovators.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 4, Issue 9 (September, 2014).
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