Industry Trends Educators Must Know

By Coleman, Leo | Techniques, November-December 1997 | Go to article overview
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Industry Trends Educators Must Know


Coleman, Leo, Techniques


The future workplace is a popular concern for vocational-technical educators. Many experts in the field have discussed the factors that influence how we prepare students now. Here is one author's interpretation and his top 10 list of trends most likely to affect the workplace in 2020.

Knowing how the vocational-technical teaching profession is evolving can help you position yourself for the future. Some of the trends described in this article already are emerging; the future of others is apparent from certain industry signs. All are supported by studies, experts and other data.

There are two major factors that have changed and will continue to change the nature and content of work profoundly - global competition and rapid technological advances. This is apparent especially in the United States, which had enjoyed an unchallenged competitive advantage in many economic sectors for decades. But sustainable competitive advantage is no longer based solely on machinery.

Here are the top 10 trends you need to know about. They aren't listed in order of importance. They herald where the vocational-technical teaching profession is going and how you can direct your development accordingly.

1. Skill requirements will continue to increase in response to rapid technological change. The percentage of workers using computers in their jobs has risen steadily since 1984.

2. The U.S. workforce will be significantly more educated and more diverse. Use of temporary staff is projected to increase 4.3 percent annually between 1994 and 2005.

3. Corporate restructuring will continue to reshape the business environment.

4. Corporate training departments will change dramatically in size and composition. The number of employees served by one trainer increased by 10 percent between 1994 and 1995.

5. Advances in technology will revolutionize the way training is delivered.

6. Training departments will find new ways to deliver services.

7. Training professionals will focus more on helping employees improve performance.

8. Integrated high-performance work systems will proliferate. The most successful high-performance work systems will focus on realigning jobs.

9. Companies will transform into learning organizations.

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