Critical thinking

5 ways to prepare yourself for the future of work

Michelle Gibbings

The jobs market is booming, with recent ABS data revealing more than 423,000 job vacancies and staff shortages across multiple industries and sectors. 

Think back to a few years ago, and the conversation was about unemployment and the changing nature of work provoked by the impacts of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics.  While that conversation may have faded into the background, it hasn’t gone away.

With such a healthy job market, sitting back and becoming overly relaxed can be easy. However, market conditions constantly shift, and jobs are always prone to change and open to economic impact, whether positive or negative. 

In today’s working world, there is no such thing as a job for life or a fully recession-proof career. Consequently, having a successful career requires always keeping your options open and being ready for change. Here are five tips to keep you ready for whatever the future holds:

  1. Embrace change
    Getting ready starts with building your resilience for the inevitable change by adopting a growth mindset.  With this approach, you are more willing to focus on how you can adapt and grow and look for the positive opportunities that the change will bring.

    As part of this, always keep your finger on the pulse of change as it applies to your profession, job or industry. For example, proactively consider how technological change can impact your work. With that knowledge, you can better plan your course of action as you’ll be more informed and ready to notice the opportunities.

  2. Get invested
    Critically examine your career – where you are now, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there.  As part of this step, be clear on the value you offer prospective employers. Everyone brings specific skills and ways of operating to the work they do. You need to be able to articulate that value by explaining how you can help an organisation, business, or client achieve its objectives.

    Remember, however, that what’s valued by employers changes over time, so you must keep your skills and experience offering current.

  3. Focus on connection
    In looking to the future, it’s easy to focus on the jobs that involve new and emerging technologies and the accompanying technical skills that support those roles.

    Yet, there’s an increasing need for emotional and relational skills as more and more of us work in jobs that involve human-to-human interaction. While the predictable, routine and process elements of roles will be automated or done by robots, what can’t be automated are relational, emotional and leadership skills. Consequently, having strong self-awareness and emotional intelligence is just as important as technical skills.

  4. Find your learning edge
    Career success requires a constant desire to learn and a willingness to equip yourself with new competencies and capabilities.  Strive for broad and deep learning by staying abreast of the latest thinking from your profession and complementary occupations and industries.

    For example, read books on topics that expand your knowledge base, undertake micro-credentials or enrol in online courses to acquire new skills.

  5. Build your advisory board
    Many jobs are unadvertised, so networking is crucial not just to land a new job but also to help you identify available roles.  Meeting new people will also help expand your awareness of potential next steps, how things are changing and what new opportunities are opening up.

    As part of this process, identify the core people in your network who make up your career advisory board.  This board may include a sponsor, mentor or career coach who can help you navigate and adapt to the changing working world.  Their roles are to support, challenge and advise.

The future of work is always changing, and the question to consider is are you ready for it?


Written by Michelle Gibbings.
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Michelle Gibbings
Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert and the author of three books, including her latest 'Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one'.


Michelle Gibbings is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.