How do emerging occupations arise?

Recently, the need to adapt and learn new skills has arisen quite quickly, in response to COVID-19. Manufacturers have learnt new techniques to make unfamiliar, in demand products, and restaurant owners have quickly developed or enhanced their skills in e‑commerce.

Previously, new skills have been adapted more gradually. For example, statisticians have for some time been expected to have skills using statistical tools such as SAS, SQL, R and SPSS (Figure 2). However, recently there has been increasing demand in the labour market for statisticians who also have skills using data visualisation applications as well as in big data analytics.

There are some instances where the skills required for certain jobs can change without changing the occupation fundamentally. For example, advances in the way we store and organise information mean we can more easily access a wider range of knowledge than in previous decades. As a result, librarians spend less time dealing with the physical management and transport of information, and more time assisting people to understand how to access, understand and use that information. Libraries have become community hubs – running learning programs, promoting literacy and digital literacy, and providing resources and access to technology that give everyone a chance to succeed.

In the case of statisticians, however, emerging skills have changed the nature of some traditional statistician roles enough that the new occupations of data scientist and data analyst have emerged, growing 492 per cent and 61 per cent from 2015 to 2019, respectively (Burning Glass Technologies, NSC Analysis).

Figure 2: Emerging skills change existing occupations and create new occupations

Figure 2: Emerging skills change existing occupations and create new occupations

Source: Burning Glass Technologies, NSC analysis