Note: This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post. It has been reposted here with permission from the author.
Canadian hockey icon Wayne Gretzky famously said “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Anyone who wants a great job in our rapidly changing economy should apply the same thinking to their employment choices. Quite simply, they should move away from the traditional framework of employment and instead anticipate the job market of the future.
You may have overheard your parents talking nostalgically about iconic companies of their generation such as Kodak, Nortel, Sears or Encyclopedia Britannica. Today each has disappeared or is a shadow of their former self.
You probably remember when Blackberry, the Yellow Pages Group, Blockbuster, Myspace and Nokia were on top—before they were replaced by Apple, Google, Netflix, Facebook and Apple again.
If you had worked for any of the displaced firms you had have become unemployed at least once—and might have lost your pension. If you’d worked for any of the disruptors you might be a stock option millionaire. In addition, you’d have been working on exciting and rewarding new products and services—you wouldn’t have been there just for the money.
Previous generations took photos on film, searched for pizza in the yellow pages and called a taxi to head downtown. You use your smartphone to take photos and share them on Instagram. You also use it to get a pizza delivered and email money for your portion to your friend. When it’s time to head out for the evening you use the Uber app to summon a ride.
If you don’t use the same products or services as your parents you should probably apply the same thinking to your career choices. The $64,000 question is, where are those jobs of the future?
Studying hard and developing skills in engineering, software development, analytics, security, behavioural economics, psychology, sales or digital marketing was a great first step towards that fulfilling in-demand career. Understanding how to apply those skills to help transform industries such as healthcare, finance, energy or manufacturing increases your employability and makes you an attractive candidate for the best employers of today and tomorrow.
What are some examples of companies well positioned to be those next transformational firms? Checking out some of these might be a good start.
A healthy population is a happy and productive population, but soaring healthcare costs, changing diets and an aging populace are problems that are getting in the way. New startup League thinks the solution may be a data-rich technology platform that helps people connect with a league of professionals dedicated to helping them live a healthier, happier life. Sounds like a big, hairy, audacious goal—and a great place to work. Other exciting Canadian Healthcare startups include Medella, Mavencare, Cogniciti and Aprilage.
Of course healthcare isn’t the only sector with lots of great new jobs. If you picked up a newspaper or surfed the web today you probably heard a story about individuals or firms that have just experienced a security breach. From Sony to eBay to Target, the list gets longer every day and security has become the hot topic of conversation in boardrooms and executive offices. In fact McKinsey says over the next seven years, US$9 trillion to US$21 trillion of economic value creation will depend on robust cyber security. It turns out that Canadian technology company Security Compass is at the epicentre of the security discussion, and is one of the fastest growing companies in the business. In the financial sector the world of digital currencies is exploding but once again security is a key concern and Canadian startup Cryptiv is at the forefront of the industry.
All of these companies won’t be successful but they’ve all identified market opportunities with the potential for exponential growth. And last time I looked, they were all hiring. Apply the same thinking and there’s hundreds more.
Follow Wayne Gretzky’s advice and work for a firm where the technological and economic puck is going. You’ll be glad you did.