Jan 16, 2018

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Five Career Predictions on The Future of Work

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This is an excerpt from The New Professional’s 2018 Career Guide. Have you got your free copy?

Whether you’re looking to start out, stand out or make a significant move within your current role, career trends will define the decisions you make with regards to progression on your career path.

Career trends are often more predictions than trends, and cannot be compared to what you find in your local fashion catalogue. These predictions if not planned for correctly, can have a direct impact on your career growth and job search. In fact, the average job-search process takes just over six weeks—43 days, to be exact.1

Ensure you fast-track your career progression in 2018 by learning about these five career predictions and how they can influence your career path.

Prediction 1: In three years, you’ll have to relearn 35% of your job2

The old economy prepared graduates to enter the workforce with a qualification behind their name that was expected to equip them with the skills needed to remain relevant for their entire career.

The modern economy, now characterised by swift and frequent technological innovation, implementation and change, makes it almost impossible to rely solely on one qualification. The evidence? Global reports show a growing disparity between skills required and skills possessed by working professionals in key roles.

It’s not that your skills will no longer be required, but they’ll be needed in a different shape or form.

Prediction 2: Every five years your skill set will be half as valuable as it was previously3

What you can do now won’t necessarily be as valuable to the business in five years time. By 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be made up of skills that aren’t yet considered vital to the job today.4

Anticipating business need even before the business knows it needs to be your number one priority. Whilst the old adage of ‘adapt or die’ might be an overstatement, professionals now need to get comfortable with the idea of working toward losing their jobs (as they know them today), rather than keeping them.

Prediction 3: Your career(s) are expected to span 60 years5

Yes, the plural is deliberate.

It’s likely you’ll have more than one career in your working lifetime – in fact, stats put it at an average of five careers, with 17 job changes.6 And those careers will take place over a longer time span than ever before. Living longer means that the average working professional will now work for close to 60 years – three times what it was in 1900.

Not only will most of us have to and want to work for longer; businesses need us to. The ‘silver workforce’ is a term being used to describe the older working professional. Given human capital requirements, organisations can’t afford to not utilise experienced, older professionals.

“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time, literally, substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. What is more, they will have more than one career, because the working lifespan of people is now close to 60 years – three times what it was in 1900.”7
Peter Drucker of Drucker Institute

Prediction 4: 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet8

Working professionals are being asked to prepare for a future that is almost impossible to define or predict. Did you know that job titles such as Mobile App Developer, Data Scientist, Social Media Manager, UX Designer, and even Digital Marketing Specialist didn’t exist 10 years ago?9

That’s because the platforms and technologies these roles leverage weren’t in place. Now that they are, they’re accelerating faster than ever before, achieving business results everyone is paying attention to.

The Wall Street Journal published a telling article in 2015 entitled: It Took the Telephone 75 Years To Do What Angry Birds Did in 35 Days.10 The article claims it took the landline telephone 75 years to hit 50 million users, but Angry Birds achieved the same impact in a mere 35 days. This result got business interest piqued: the evident power of the Apple Store as a platform, and mobile apps as a product saw a massive spike in the demand for mobile app developers at the time – a role that today is only around five years old.

The point is that in the next 10 years, case study examples like the one mentioned above will become the norm. Business opportunities are accelerating thanks to digitisation; technology is now at a stage where simple innovation can accelerate business results, and as business innovates, so too will jobs.

Prediction 5: 5.1 million jobs could be lost to disruption over the next 3 years11

But how many will be created?

According to a McKinsey report, currently available technologies could replace 45% of human work today.12 An Oxford study by Osborne-Frey puts that number at 47%13 over the next couple of decades and futurist Martin Ford predicts it will be at 75% by the end of this century.14 But this picture is not doom and gloom for working professionals.

An interesting challenge has arisen to the “robots are coming for your job” narrative, that challenges professionals to understand how their role will need to adapt with forces like automation or AI entering their job space. Stephane Kasriel, CEO of freelance platform Upwork, puts it best: “there will not be a shortage of jobs in the future, but rather a shortage of skills to fill the jobs.”15

The really good news about these predictions? Opportunity has never been more rife – if you’re up for it.

The above is an excerpt from The New Professional’s 2018 Career Guide.

Download your copy here:

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Filed under: Career advice