The last 12 months have been a time of immense uncertainty. The pandemic affected many jobs, uprooted career plans, and left people questioning their professional futures. Most of us, globally, were left wondering how to protect ourselves better and future proof our careers.
Job displacements are, of course, nothing new. Industrial revolutions of the past caused much concern with the population of their eras. History has demonstrated how labour markets adjust to new-normals, and evidence is also showing when labour-saving technology is adopted, labour is redirected to other areas of demand (1).
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chair of the World Economic Forum labelled our times as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, encompassing tech and the digital spaces (2). Today’s industrial revolution, with its rapid rate of change and the ‘double-disruption’— automation in tandem with COVID-19—is a little different. It basically guarantees each one of our jobs will change to some degree over the next 5 to 10 years.
Is it all about technology?
Over the next 5 years, the fastest-growing projected sectors are health, aged and childcare, education, and professional and scientific technology services. Globally, it is estimated healthcare related jobs in aged care alone will grow by 50 million to 85 million by 2030 (3). Tech will undoubtedly be involved in making these sectors more efficient, and jobs, whilst remaining, will change.
Perhaps consider whether:
- your job will remain but transform?
- or will it be substituted entirely by technology?
So, what skills will you need to shuffle and morph to meet the future shape of your profession, industry, and job? To remain employable, it will be our ‘soft skills’, our human skills, that will enable the necessary upskilling and reskilling.
Our Human skills
As we become so reliant upon technology—in all areas of our lives, not just work—have we let our ‘human skills’ slip? Working remotely with less direct human contact, or the text/ emoji you just sent – is efficient and quick, however, as this way of communicating becomes our second language, do we risk forgetting our primary one? And are we contributing to our own deskilling?
Be a forever learner
As tech takes care of the mundane tasks, i.e., capturing information, understanding the how and why of things will ensure your part in maximising impact and value. Adopting an attitude of ‘forever learning’ will strengthen your creativity, enterprise skills and cognitive abilities, all of which are increasing in demand.
Learning skills require constant application and testing. Consider your memory—how active is it? Remember the days when a list was in your head—not your phone? How quickly do you rely on a cursory google search instead of stretching your mind? Having a thirst for knowledge and curiosity is essential. Research shows businesses expect 40% of workers will require reskilling of 6 months or less, and 94% of business leaders expect workers to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018 (4).
When applying yourself to learning, relearning, adapting, changing, and adopting new ways of thinking and working, your mind will remain alert and enable you to evolve with any new advances. Your ability to embrace change and uncertainty will, in turn, increase your self-confidence and self-efficacy—critical in future proofing your career.
How strong is your coping and bounce-back factor? Some people see change as a positive force, and others, in contrast, perceive it as a challenge or even an insurmountable hurdle. To eliminate this unproductive belief, you need a healthy dose of optimism.
Your resilience will assist you no matter what you encounter and ensure you deal better with change and uncertainty. You can measure and grow your resilience in everyday situations—you don’t have to wait for an almighty wave to strike. Weathering the storm alone is not resilience. Resilience is how you choose to weather the storm.
Self-awareness and EQ
Self-awareness and strong EQ assist in understanding all sides and angles to situations and provide clarity of the impact you have on others. With development, your ability to influence and negotiate effectively will rise, and your self-awareness will assist with your self-confidence—and vice versa. Self-awareness and EQ are critical for all management and leadership roles, and this requirement will increase as our social awareness evolves.
With EQ, empathy and a deeper, fuller understanding of people increases. When this occurs, it’s a transcending moment, magical almost. The connection with a person or group significantly improves, and trust enters the relationship dynamic. Barriers drop, and our communication skills are more highly attuned and efficient.
Developing self-awareness and EQ will be imperative in navigating successful, authentic, and trusting relationships. These ‘human skills’ are in demand now and will be even more so in the future as they allow you to transition and advance, in a dynamically changing environment.
It is difficult to predict the future, but by awakening our inherent skills—no matter our role or industry—we will best position ourselves for future employability. Not to mention a more fulfilling life.
Written by Roxanne Calder.
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