The job market in 2016: Get ready for what’s next


Navigating the fast-changing job market is no easy feat. To stay ahead of the curve, you must have an understanding of the forces remaking our world and workforce. Here are some macro trends that will shape the employment picture in 2016 — and beyond.

Do get personal

From medicine to marketing, personalization is where it's at. Employers are hankering for people who know how to collect and analyze data, and then use that information to create an experience tailored to the individual. This includes everything from apps that monitor a person’s health to ads targeted to a niche audience. The personalization trend translates into a wide range of opportunities for several professions, including software engineers of all stripes, market researchers, and computer scientists who cull and curate the ever-growing world of big data.

Demographics are destiny

When it comes to the workforce, age is more than a number — it is a key driver of demand. Aging Baby Boomers are increasing the demand for health care workers, especially for home health aides and registered nurses. As these Baby Boomers hit retirement age, they are also creating openings in careers such as kindergarten and elementary teachers, with school districts seeing shortages in these fields. But it is not just age that is remaking the job market. We are also becoming an increasingly diverse population, which translates into a demand for workers who are proficient in multiple languages. From elementary schools where dual-language teaching is on the rise to multinational corporations looking to enter new markets, the lingua franca (common language) of the workforce is one of variety, and those who understand this are poised to capitalize.

Work wherever

Technology today makes us both more connected and more scattered than ever before, creating opportunities for a wide variety of professionals who neither need nor want to be tied to a desk. This includes network architects and wireless engineers who design the intricate and expansive systems that keep us connected, consultants willing to hang up their own digital shingle, and a wide variety of Web 2.0 entrepreneurs who are looking to create the next big thing through online collaboration and engagement.

Preparing for what’s next

Want to learn how workforce trends align with your skills and interests? UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Life/Work Strategies offers a variety of free programs from one-on-one career coaching to skills assessments. Find out more about Extension's many career-enhancing resources by visiting

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