NEW YORK – When Andrew Chamberlain started in his job four years ago in the research group at jobs website Glassdoor.com, he worked in a programming language called Stata.
Then it was R.
“My dad was a commercial printer and did the same thing for 30 years. I have to continually stay on stuff,” said Chamberlain, who is now the chief economist for the site.
Chamberlain already has one of the jobs of the future — a perpetually changing, shifting universe of work that requires employees to be critical thinkers and fast on their feet.
Recruiters are looking for those nimble enough to constantly learn new technologies and apply their skills on the fly — and some are now using automated software, or ‘bots’, to weed out candidates.
They are not necessarily looking for knowledge of certain software. They are looking for what most consider soft skills: problem solving, effective communication and leadership.
“The human being’s role in the workplace is less to do repetitive things all the time and more to do the nonrepetitive tasks that bring new kinds of value,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce in the United States.
Employers are telling colleges: You are producing engineers, but they do not have the skills we need.
It is “algorithmic thinking” rather than the algorithm itself that is relevant, said Carnevale.
Out in the field, Marie Artim is looking for potential. As vice president of talent acquisition for car-rental firm Enterprise Holdings Inc, she sets out to hire about 8,500 college graduates every year for a management-training program, an enormous undertaking that has her searching campuses across the country.
According to Artim, the biggest deficit in the millennial generation is autonomous decisionmaking. They are used to being structured and “syllabused,” she said.
To get students ready, some colleges, and even high schools, are working on building critical thinking skills.
For three weeks in January at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Ga., students either get jobs or go on trips, which gives them a better sense of what they might do in the future.
At Texas State University in San Marcos, meanwhile, students can take a marketable-skills master class series.
The career office at the university also focuses on interview skills. Today, that learning how to perform best on video and phone interviews, and how to navigate gamification and artificial intelligence bots that many companies are now using in the recruiting process.
Norma Guerra Gaier, director of career services at Texas State, said her son just recently got a job and not until the final step did he even have a phone interview.
“He had to solve a couple of problems on a tech system, and was graded on that. He didn’t even interface with a human being,” Guerra Gaier said.