欢迎来到“复合型”工作时代。劳动力分析公司Burning Glass Technologies的报道在分析了10亿多条当前和历史工作招聘数据库后发现，科技正在重新塑造250多个岗位的工作方式。工作内容的日趋复杂和多技能要求并非是什么新趋势——Burning Glass最初于2015年开始跟踪这一趋势，但它却在加速发展。该报道预测，复合型工作岗位数量将在未来10年中增长21%，是整个就业市场10%增速的两倍多。
复合型工作的第二大优势在于，他们有抵御自动化的能力。Burning Glass的调查显示，约42%的雇员某一天可能会发现自己将被人工智能取代。作为对比，复合型工作的复杂度相当之高，非常倚重于专业人士的判断和同理心以及想象力这样的“软”技能。Burning Glass预测，自动化可能最终只能取代12%这类工作。
安妮·费希尔是职场专家和问答类专栏作家，是《财富》杂志21世纪工作生活指南专栏“Work It Out”的作者。
If you’ve been looking around for a new job lately, and especially if you’ve been working in your field for a decade or two, you may have noticed that more and more companies are looking for combinations of skills that aren’t usually found on the same resume—and may, until now, even have been thought of as opposites. Marketing roles call for expertise in statistical analysis; software engineers and IT project managers are supposed to bring creativity, visual design, and “soft” skills like teamwork with them; and moving up in sales takes expertise in CRM software.
What’s going on?
Welcome to the era of the “hybrid” job. Technology is reshaping the way work gets done in more than 250 occupations, according to a report from workforce analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, drawn from its database of more than 1 billion current and historical job postings. The trend toward more complex, multi-skilled jobs isn’t new—Burning Glass first started tracking it in 2015—but it’s speeding up. The study projects that hybrid jobs will grow by 21% over the next decade, more than twice the 10% growth rate of the job market overall.
One example of hybridization: Mobile app developers, whose job didn’t even exist until the first smartphones came along a decade ago, might seem at a glance to require, like other software developers, mostly great coding skills. But no. Designing mobile apps takes knowledge of programming, of course—but also user interface design, content, and marketing.
Or take data analysis. In 2010, the Burning Glass study says, there were only 150 job openings for people adept at applying statistics to business problems, and most of those were on Wall Street. In 2018, by contrast, more than 1.7 million job postings, across every every conceivable industry, asked for data science skills.
For people trying to plan a career in the throes of constant change (that is, most of us), the rise of hybrid jobs is terrific in two ways. First, the more unusual combinations of skills employers need, the fewer qualified candidates they can find. “Recruiters call them ‘purple squirrels’,” notes Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass. To snare these scarce creatures, employers are willing to pay a premium—often a big one. Marketing managers with expertise in data analysis, for instance, often earn 40% more than those without it.
The second great advantage to hybrid jobs is that they’re resistant to automation. According to the Burning Glass study, about 42% of all employees could one day find themselves replaced by artificial intelligence. By contrast, hybrid jobs are so complex, and rely so heavily on expert judgment calls and “soft” skills like empathy and imagination, that Burning Glass predicts automation could eventually take over only 12% of them.
So how do you turn yourself into a purple squirrel? “A traditional stable career, where you do essentially the same work for decades and then retire, is now possible only in trade unions and maybe the post office,” says Sigelman. “For everybody else, lifelong learning is an essential route into these hybrid jobs. In fact, it may be the only route.”
The catch, of course, is that figuring out which skills you’ll need to learn is not so easy. Sooner or later, Sigelman believes, employers will find recruiting enough purple squirrels so difficult that they’ll have to step up their efforts to train and develop more of the employees they already have. In the meantime, one way to tell what you need to add to your repertoire is to read job postings in your field—lots of them. “In many industries, companies are now trying to hire for combinations of skills they believe they’ll need in the near future and don’t yet have,” Sigelman explains. “If you read enough job postings, you’ll begin to see patterns emerge that will show you where to focus your efforts.”
Paying close attention to the trade press in your industry, and to what influencers in your field are talking about at conferences and in LinkedIn groups, can yield important insights, too. Most of all, as hybrid jobs proliferate, it helps to think like hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. A reporter once asked him what his secret was. “I don’t skate to where the puck is,” Gretzky said. “I skate to where it’s going to be.”
Now, there’s a skill worth cultivating.
Anne Fisher is a career expert and advice columnist who writes “Work It Out,” Fortune’s guide to working and living in the 21st century.