New technologies and developments are pointing towards artificial intelligence and automation being the future of work. As such, there is a growing demand for skilled workers throughout the world. Unfortunately, the global economy has been suffering from a manpower problem over the past few decades. Declining birth-rates, especially in developed economies, paints a grim picture for the future of the worker market as the worker pool shrinks with each subsequent generation.

What does this mean for employers? It means that companies are considering employing a new set of workers referred to as “new- collar workers”. A new-collar worker is an individual who develops the technical and soft skills needed to work in technology jobs through non-traditional education paths.

These workers do not necessarily a four-year degree from college. Instead, most might be trained at community colleges, vocational schools, software bootcamps, internships, and other similarly unconventional means.

The term was coined by IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty. This classification of employee evolved when faced with the challenge of hiring technical jobs including cloud computing technicians, database managers, cyber-security, user interface designers and other IT roles.

Companies in both the manufacturing and healthcare industries are also feeling the sting of the war for talent. The manufacturing industry in particular believes that the new-collar workers will be the future of the industry. The skills needed are digital skills to run automation and software, robotics, analyse data, cloud computer maintenance, additive manufacturing and 3D printing, and working with CAD files for CNC machining.

Some of the new-collar jobs that we can expect to see soon include ultra sound technicians, pharmacy technicians, medical assistants, dental assistants, mechanics and programmers, and service delivery analyst.

Hiring these new-collar workers will require companies to change their strategy from the traditional methods of seeking out college graduates and those with former job experience. The hiring strategies for selecting new collar workers involves looking beyond the information on the resume and seeking potential over experience.

Hiring and HR managers should draft out a list of traits and skills necessary for the role they wish to fill and develop interview questions to assess these traits and skills. Rather than looking for a specific degree, they will need to analyse any previous work experience that utilised these traits in different roles.

Training has always been good for business but in today’s worker market, it is vital to attracting and developing your employees. Therefore, it is essential for companies to start developing brand new training programmes that cater to these new breed of workers. This training should align with the actual job functions and not just be a general overview of company tasks and goals.

While companies are now facing the challenge of finding skilled workers in a world where there is simply not enough of them, there are still solutions that can be implemented. One such solution  involves a collaboration with the community, schools and the current workforce to develop training programs and new sources to collect potential job candidates for these new-collar jobs. It also means that HR must shift away from college degree requirements and experience in order to adopt a new method of hiring.


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