What Diversity Job Skills Will Make It in 2017?

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) employment situation report for November notes signs of growth with 2016 in general having had an average of 180,000 employment growth per month
The White House’s summary of November’s employment situation highlights this positive aspect: The economy added 178,000 jobs in November, extending the longest streak of total job growth on record, as the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent.
In December, the White House was pleased to note that 292, 000jobs were added, marking the strongest two years of job creation since 1998-2000. December was seen as a strong month for employment growth though it could have posted more growth were it not for global headwinds that continue to restrain job growth, the White House further noted.
Business Insider likewise reported on the increase in wages – that based on the BLS employment report, US wages in December rose at the fastest pace since mid-2009.

The BLS reported:
In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 10 cents to $26.00, after edging down by 2 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $21.80.

With that, 2017 promises to be another fruitful year for employment. Now there are 3 job skills areas that, according to Bill Gates, will be successful in the future job market. And based on the data he’s collected, Gates concludes that people with three backgrounds will be the most in-demand from here on out: science, engineering and economics.Workers proficient in those subjects will be “the agents of change for all institutions,” Gates tells LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth.
Based on the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, the following jobs falling in those 3 areas, are projected to grow between 2014 -2024
Science Jobs * Statisticians: projected growth rate is 30 percent or faster * Home Health Aids: projected growth rate is 30 percent or faster * Computer Systems Analysts: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent * Web Developers: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent * Diagnostice Medical Sonographers: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent * Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent * Mathematicians: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent * Surgeons: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent
Engineering* Biomedical Engineers: projected growth rate is 20-29 percent * Petroleum Engineers: projected growth is 10-19 percent * Cost Estimators: projected growth is 0-9 percent * Aerospace Engineering and Operation Technicians: projected growth rate is 0-9 percent * Industrial Engineers: projected growth rate is 0-9 percent
Economics* Personal Financial Advisors: projected growth rate is 30 percent or faster * Operations Research Analysts: projected growth rate is 30 percent or faster * Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists: projected growth rate is 10-19 percent * Financial Analysts: projected growth rate is 10-19 percent * Accountants and Auditors: projected growth rate is 10-19 percent * Economics Teachers, postsecondary: projected rate is 10-19 percent
These are only a sampling of jobs found under those areas, which the BLS has projected to grow within the decade. From the data given, jobs in the information technology healthcare/medical fields, and in economics, have faster or higher growth rate than engineering jobs.
As the above-mentioned article on Bill Gates’ prediction, Gates said that people with these jobs will be the agents of change in the future. “I do think of basic knowledge of the sciences, math skills, economics — a lot of careers in the future will be very demanding on those things,” Gates says, the article quoted him.
A LinkedIn study of its database, to see which job skills are needed in the 2017 workplace, correlates these findings, as reported. The IT/cloud computing jobs will be in demand this year, not only in the US but also around the world. Here’s the list of those 10 job skills: 1. Cloud and Distributed Computing 2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining 3. Web Architecture and Development Framework 4. Middleware and Integration Software 5. User Interface Design 6. Network and Information Security 7. Mobile Development 8. Data Presentation 9. SEO/SEM Marketing 10. Storage Systems and Management
In addition to hiring people with technical skills, a different LinkedIn survey found that those with soft skills are most likely to get hired:good communicators, are organized, work well as part of a team, and are punctual. Critical thinking, creativity, and social skills are also prized by employers.
Warren Buffet has also something to say, and it’s worth listening to his wisdom, if you want to get ahead in your career, in whatever field you work. Buffet gave this advice to a group of business students way back in 2009, but is as relevant today as it was then – the art/skill of public speaking. “Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills–public speaking. If that’s the case, see me after class and I’ll pay you $150,000.” 
Warren Buffet makes a great point indeed. This skill is not only useful for entrepreneurs, but for anyone wanting to A job candidate with this useful skill can easily make a pitch about him/herself in the job interview. Or an employee can impress his/her boss and peers with an excellent presentation.
Not only that, equipped with good communication skills, especially the skill of speaking in public without fear, can be especially beneficial for people from historically marginalized groups, those from the minority sectors of the population, as they face workplace bias, prejudice, and even racism, which still persist in our society. They can have confidence to speak up for their rights and denounce whatever abuses they may face in the course of seeking a job, or in their place of employment.
Implication of the demand for STEM skills on diversity
STEM jobs are traditionally known to favor Whites, men, and Asians, and few Hispanics. For example, as noted by a previous DiversityWorking.com article, an analysis by Gizmodo (a design, technology, science and science fiction website) of the combined EEO-1s and the diversity reports of the 6 leading tech companies in the US: Airbnb, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Yahoo, reveal their workforce were not reflective of the country’s demography consisting of 72 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 12.6 percent black, 4.8 percent Asian. The workforce in each of these tech companies, at the time of the analysis, was predominantly white and of Asian origin.
On closer look, according to other reports, Asian Americans/Asians in tech rarely get to top positions. They are for the most part, employees, not CEOs. In terms of gender, women tend to be overlooked as well.
The point is with forecasts saying 2017 is the year for STEM skills/jobs, there may be concerns that these STEM jobs will again be in favor of whites, Asian Americans/Asians, and males.
However, there are other diversity-minded companies that continue to reach out to the culturally-diverse marketplace in their search for the best diversity job candidates. Moreover, these companies do their best to create inclusive workplaces.
Women for STEM
Also, there seems to be a trend that women now are being considered more and more for tech positions, studies reveal. Back in 2015, a study published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that women are more likely than men to be hired for faculty positions in science, mathematics and technology, an Inside Higher Ed article noted. The same articles also took note of another study that revealed that men (and specifically white men) do not have the advantage that many assume they do in being hired in STEM fields. Women and black and Latino researchers instead have an advantage, the study found. It also found an apparent disadvantage for Asian researchers starting their careers.
That’s a glimmer of hope. It can be expected that companies will strive to include more women, as well as other minorities in their hiring requirements – not just for the numbers, but to build inclusivity in their respective organizations.
Besides, that women are left out from STEM may not entirely be due to gender bias. A report by the National Science Foundation, “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering,” suggests that when women were not working, or if they were, only on a part-time basis, family responsibilities were often cited as the reason. Here’s an excerpt from that report:
“Across all racial/ethnic groups, female scientists and engineers who were not working were far more likely than men to cite family responsibilities and less likely than men to cite retirement as the reason for not working. Within each racial/ethnic group, female scientists and engineers who were employed part time cited family responsibilities more frequently than men…”
Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
The importance of diversity and inclusion in STEM cannot be overstated, as it fuels the growth of the economy. One noted scientist at the National Cancer Institute, Kenneth (Kenny) Gibbs, Jr., PhD, wrote in his article published in the Scientific American that diversity is the way to promote excellence in STEM, and it includes people from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented and those from backgrounds that are traditionally well represented.
Thus here’s hoping 2017 be indeed a year of growth for all sectors in society, where diversity and inclusion is not only a mantra or a stated philosophy in a company’s manual, but a truly lived experience.