For jobs of the future, keep studying


The following article is from the April 10-23 print edition of the Budapest Business Journal.

Experts say that a good education, including foreign languages and computer skills, will be essential for Hungarian workers seeking jobs in the future. But they have a harder time saying exactly what kinds of jobs will be available.

“Just as we couldn’t foresee the current labor market demand structure ten years ago, it is difficult to provide a precise projection for the future. A major share of today’s university students will work in positions that don’t even exist yet,” Tamás Fehér, managing director of Trenkwalder Kft., a leading recruitment company, says. “One thing is sure: Development will remain technology−based, and it will run at high speed primarily in pharmaceuticals and IT.”


Never-ending training

In a way, this is great news for parents worried about selecting the right career path for their offspring: Apparently they haven’t missed a thing. But it would be silly to sit back and relax for future jobseekers. Instead they should rather prepare themselves for the opposite.

“From a professional point of view, you can lag behind within such a short period as three−five years, for instance in the field of online marketing. So if you want to keep up your competitiveness, you will have to learn and improve all the time,” Sándor Baja, CEO of Randstad Hungary notes.

As emphasized by experts the Budapest Business Journal talked to, this core attitude of permanent self−improvement will become critical not only for those earning a degree in higher education.

“Skillful craftsmen will be needed in every sector in ten years time as well. Expertise and an immaculate knowledge of different work phases will remain indispensable for competitive operation.

If you start a career in a profession that is in high demand at present, you should be well placed in a decade too, provided you keep training yourself,” Fehér says. Blue−collar jobs also involve a lot of automation now, which increases the demand for related skills. In Hungary, the automotive industry is where it will be of most importance.


Start using dictionaries

You can also take it for granted that speaking languages will gain only further significance. “Even in the field of physical work, candidates are expected to have a basic command of one foreign tongue. Mastering English shall be an essential part of selection, whereas a second language should be a more decisive factor for employment,” Baja adds.

IT specialists and engineers, the all− time favorites of headhunters, won’t get away with sloppy language skills, either. “In their case, the requirement will move towards knowing two active languages (mostly English and German), since the engineering teams of multinational companies pursue their activities all over the world, and those teams need to be able to work together regardless of the place of production,” Ottó Vég, head of Adecco says. “Those speaking more exotic tongues such as Russian, or a Scandinavian or Asian language, can expect even better perspectives, a trend that is justified by the expanding SSC sector in Hungary as well.”


 Labor market and education

Many criticize the Hungarian education system for not providing students with enough practical knowledge. Thus, supply hardly meets labor market demand.

“Universities do not always follow companies’ n eeds, and it is a pparent when looking at the number of young unemployed or those leaving their initial career path. A more intensive consultation between employers and higher education institutions may help fine−tune these two sides,” Baja explains.

A lot will come down to the quality of education, because employers give priority to workers having the right skills, and not specific knowledge. “You won’t need to be familiar with a given process since speedy development will overwrite that; rather the education system will be expected to provide continuous learning capacity and creativity,” Fehér says.


 Startup wave

 A generational shift will reach workplaces too with members of the so−called “generation Z” soon banging on the doors. But thanks to an increasingly worldwide startup culture, it is a question whether there will be enough of them willing to become employees at all. According to a global study by Millennial Branding and Randstad U.S., members of generation Z are a lot more ambitious about becoming entrepreneurs than their immediate predecessors, namely generation Y, with 17% of the former into starting a business and hiring others.

 Startups have created new work environments and employers must offer something similarly appealing in the race for talent. “Executives must adapt and ensure appropriate motivation for this group of young people attracted by startups, who regard self−fulfillment as their number one priority,” notes Baja. Experts therefore expect fierce competition between firms when it comes to hunting down competent professionals.

 “The internal structures of offices tend to follow the style preferred by members of generations Y and Z, work place codes have become more relaxed, and the need for so−called ‘fun raising’ has emerged as a result of which in−house entertainment tools will gain on significance,” Vég observes. “This can enhance the satisfaction and creativity of employees, which is crucial to boost loyalty.”

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