Business Development

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How do you plan for a future in an age of massive disruption?

Technology is transforming old industries and creating new job categories that didn’t exist as recently as 5 years ago. Adding the impact of artificial Intelligence, machine learning, genetic engineering, and the Internet of Things —these forces will change the nature of work for the future. Which jobs will be replaced by machines, or end all together? Just how important is digital literacy to future success?

The forces shaping the future

The shape that the workforce of the future takes will be the result of complex, changing and competing forces. Some of these forces are certain, but the speed at which they will unfold is hard to predict. Regulations and laws, the governments that enact them, broad trends in consumer, citizen and worker sentiment all will influence the transition toward an automated workplace. The pace of change is accelerating. Competition for the right talent is fierce. And ‘talent’ no longer means the same as it did ten years ago; many of the roles, skills and job titles of tomorrow may be unknown to us today. How can organizations prepare for a future that we can’t necessarily predict? How will your talent needs change? There have been numerous research papers and job reports written and they can all be summarized into the following main points:

Focus on skills, not titles.  The high-paying jobs of the future are more complex, multi-disciplinary, and what Burning Glass calls “hybrid.”  They require a wide set of skills from different fields (design, user experience, data analysis and interpretation, business acumen), and as a result are rapidly increasing in value. The takeaway here is to focus on building a solid base of skills and fluency applicable to many occupations.

Job ladders are gone.  We are now in an age of job lattice — moving up, across and sideways over the course of our careers.  Skills remain, but as industries merge and re-form and job requirements shift, progress won’t be as linear.

Workplace skills are sometimes equal to or more important than technical proficiency. Adaptability, collaboration, problem solving, empathy, and social awareness cannot be replaced by machines. A recent LinkedIn study found 57% of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills and are becoming harder to find in today’s labor market candidate pools.

We must end the myth that your education is over once you graduate.  Today global competition and technology change require us all to be lifelong learners.  Curiosity is key in the new world of work. As Josh Bersin says, “In some ways, this is how jobs and careers have always evolved. Automation changes every job over time, and if we don’t continuously move up the “human value curve” we can fall behind.”

The evolving world of work requires us all to be entrepreneurs.  An entrepreneurial mindset is more and more vital in the creative disruption underway in our economy.  It’s equally necessary for those filling job openings as those creating their own, do-it-yourself future, building the next business enterprise.  This is the gig economy imperative.

As long as we stay curious, are open to change and build a repertoire of diverse technical and professional skills, we can continue not only to survive but also thrive.




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