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Want to know the latest in career trends and predictions? 2016 is all about hybrid careers and skills.

Tiffany Smith

What’s your job?

A fairly simple question, but in today’s world the answer may not be.

We’re no longer defined by the titles on our business cards or LinkedIn profiles. They may only be part of what we actually do. The IT professional must also be a sales representative, and the marketer needs to know programming languages like SQL to manipulate big data.

2016 is officially the year of the hybrid job!

2016 is officially the year of the hybrid job! #jobtrends


New market analysis, commissioned by Bentley University and powered by labor market analytics firm Burning Glass, found that job descriptions are expanding to include skills that used to represent standalone jobs -- threatening to altogether eliminate positions such as the social media strategist or web designer. Learn more about this research.

The analysis, which examined data from 24.5 million U.S. job listings from September 2014 to August 2015, found that many skills are in high demand in diverse careers. Nowadays, 71 percent of in-demand skills are required across multiple job categories.

And candidates that possess these cross-category skills will be the ones best prepared for these hybrid jobs.

So what does that mean for you?


  1. Combine Soft and Hard Skills
    “The successful employee of tomorrow will need to combine traditional soft skills, such as communication and collaboration, with technical skills that used to belong to a select tech-savvy group,” shares Bentley University President Gloria Larson.

    You can’t ignore either type of skill. There needs to be a hybrid combination. So start broadening your skills set -- and resume -- to include both types.      
  2. Focus on Skills, Not Popular Job Titles
    In this hiring climate, it’s all about the skills. Not specializing in the latest new-kid-on-the-block snazzy job trend. Previously popular jobs are in decline, according to this research, as their once-innovative focus has become mainstream and integrated into other roles.

    For example, postings for social media strategists have fallen 64 percent in the last five years, even as the skill of social media strategy has risen sharply in human resource jobs (up 376 percent), sales jobs (up 150 percent), and marketing and PR jobs (up 117 percent). Job postings for web designers have fallen 8 percent, even as the skill of web design has risen 11 percent in marketing/PR job listings and 9 percent in graphic design job listings.

    Are these six must-have job skills on your resume?
  3. Learn How to Sell
    Sales skills are a necessary tool for any professional -- in any career -- to have. If you want to get ahead, you need to know everything from how to sell yourself to how to sell products and services. Though a career as a “salesperson” may not sound glamorous, sales is actually going through a major makeover right now.

    Sales jobs are up 150 percent in the past five years. And while postings for business development executives have fallen 49 percent, the need for that skill has grown 68 percent in marketing/PR job listings and 29 percent for IT job listings.

    According to new research, #sales #jobs are up 150 percent in the past 5 years. #jobtrends


    In his book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink points out that the number of sales people in the United States is five times higher than the entire federal government workforce. He also shares some startling facts about changing workforce dynamics, including the fact that some companies may lose as much as 40 percent of their sales talent by 2016. Yet this change in workforce dynamics is also expected to create two million new sales jobs by 2020, increasing the demand for professional salespeople. Enter millennials, who we know are ready to deliver on this growing need.

    “At Bentley, we saw a real market demand for sales-proficient graduates, so in 2014, we launched a Professional Sales major for undergraduates,” says Jim Pouliopoulos, director of the program. “Not only is the major itself growing, but the general interest in sales courses is way up as well. Students know these skills will help them stand out in a crowded job market.”
  4. Go Big
    It shouldn’t be news that big data is a big trend right now. But that trend is continuing strong. Openings for big data jobs have grown 3,977 percent in the last few years and the average salary ($123,057) continues to increase.

    And big data isn’t just for data scientists. Knowing how to analyze and work with numbers are abilities that everyone should possess. Skills that involve data analysis, as well as software and programming languages to manage data (like Oracle and SAP), are extending to less-expected career paths like marketing and PR.
  5. Be Versatile
    Job trends are always changing. To stay at the top of the pack, you need to always be changing too. Your education doesn’t end when you graduate from school. Adopt a philosophy of life-long learning, where you’re always checking in on the latest and greatest. Taking classes through companies like Lynda, joining communities like Quora or even finishing your degree can all help with this goal.

    “The report findings reflect the need for employees to be versatile and dynamic, just like the workplaces where they will be expected to contribute and transform,” says Katie Burke, VP of Culture and Experience at HubSpot.
  6. Reap the Benefits
    Another bonus to incorporating new abilities to your arsenal: a higher paycheck! Hybrid jobs that add new skills to traditional job descriptions -- for example, marketing jobs that require knowledge of SQL or SAP -- pay more than the same jobs without those new skills.


“There is no doubt there is an increased demand for these hybrid skills,” says Susan Brennan, Associate Vice President of University Career Services. “Companies are looking for employees who have an expansive base of skills, but are nimble enough that they will be able to change and adapt as roles and needs evolve. The reality is -- what an employee is doing today will likely be very different six months from now. That means employers need candidates who can adapt and work successfully outside of their comfort zone.”