Are you future proofing your career?

Posted on: August 9, 2016 by Marianne Hewlett

40% of all jobs are likely to be automated by 2030 – that’s according to Oxford University economists Dr Carl Frey and Dr Michael Osborne. The question is what new types of work will you be doing by then? How will you be freed up from repetitive tasks as automation opens up new possibilities?

These are important questions to ask yourselves and while 2030 is in the distant future, automation is already happening. It’s likely to affect portions of almost all jobs, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company which recently analysed 2,000+ work activities in the US economy. It will require businesses to understand how their organizations will be transformed and how processes and culture will have to be changed as a result. It also requires a mindset shift in all of us. Here’s why.

Demographic changes are impacting us all in the workplace:

  • We’re living longer – in the UK, the number of centenarians has risen by 72% over the last decade and life expectancy continues to increase across European countries. We’re all going to be working much longer and the idea of retirement is eroding. Some of us can expect to work up to 20 years after retirement age.
  • We’ll have multiple careers – as we’ll be working longer, the concept of a ‘job for life’ is increasingly rare. Instead, we’ll have upwards of 10-15 different roles, careers and build a patchwork of skills designed to adapt to changing technologies and trends.
  • Gigs won’t just be for musicians – we’re starting to see people choosing to work ‘gig jobs’ having a portfolio of part-time jobs to give them freedom and flexibility in the types of work they do. It’s becoming increasingly popular with millennials, keen to try multiple pursuits at the same time.

Why the type of work we do is changing

The structure of employment is shifting – while automation, artificial intelligence and robots will replace certain jobs with repetitive tasks, new jobs will be created, while skills gaps in certain areas like cyber security and analytics will still exist. It’s estimated that by 2020 there will be 756,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT professionals in Europe. Last year, the EU Commission helped to form four new national coalitions to help build a stronger digital Europe - two of which were the Belgian Alliance for Digital Skills and Jobs and the Netherlands National Coalition.

What can you do?

At a personal level, it’s vital that you take responsibility for your own careers now so you can disrupt yourselves and learn new skills to ensure your future employability. It requires a different approach to learning – where you take the initiative to learn continuously. It could be online learning courses, certification, reading blogs, forums, Medium posts, book club style learning sessions with colleagues – the possibilities are endless. But it demands a change in mindset to be open to new possibilities and invest time in your own personal development, something I’ve talked about previously in my post: Disrupt Yourself to Success.

Here are some useful questions to ask yourself to future proof your career:

  • What skills do I currently have?
  • Are these skills future proofed for the changing nature of work?
  • What steps do I need to take to acquire new digital skills?
  • What type of work interests me?
  • Where are the current industry skills gaps? Could I re-train to move into one of these areas?
  • Am I continuously learning?
  • How can I make learning a daily habit?

Changing the type of work we do isn’t necessarily going to be a comfortable experience – but that’s OK. It’s part of the learning curve and helps you grow personally and professionally. There’s no time like the present to start future proofing your career and open yourself up to change.

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About Marianne Hewlett
Senior Vice President and member of the Scientific Community
Marianne Hewlett is a Senior Vice President at Atos and a seasoned marketeer and communications expert. Passionate about connecting people, technology and business, she is a member of the Atos Scientific Community where she explores the Future of Work and the impact of technology on individuals, organizations and society. She is a strong ambassador for diversity and inclusivity – and particularly encourages female talent to pursue a career in IT – as she believes a diverse and happy workforce is a key driver for business success. As an ambassador for the company’s global transformation program Wellbeing@work, she explores new technologies and ways of working that address the needs of current and future generations of employees. A storyteller at heart, she writes about the human side of business and technology and posts include insights into the future of work, the science of happiness, and how wellbeing and diversity can drive success.

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