Facing the Future of Work

According to one prediction, up to half of today’s jobs may not exist by 2030, with as much as 90% of the duties of some occupations being automated (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-jobs-lost-automation/), and about two thirds of children now entering primary school will hold jobs that currently don’t exist. (http://reports.weforum.org/future-of-jobs-2016/chapter-1-the-future-of-jobs-and-skills/)

The future of work will also be more flexible - 79% of executives believing that the future of work will be based more on specific projects than roles (Source: Accenture), and in a somewhat paradoxical estimation the demand for social and emotional skills will grow across all industries by 26% in the United States and 22% in Europe (Source: McKinsey), while at the same time, the need for advanced IT and programming skills is also going to grow.

So what skills will employees need to thrive in this new world of work?

Our top five skills are all metacompetencies - overarching capabilities focused on being able to learn, adapt, anticipate and create value in this new world.

Career Adaptability:

Employees must engage with, and understand, the changing global business environment and drivers for change; they must deliberately evaluate their career skills, goals, strengths and risks through self-reflection and they must develop a growth mindset and focus on learning and curiosity – exploring the new world of work.

With this in mind, they must establish a career plan focused on learning and building confidence in the future. Gone are the days of the stable, steady job for life (did they ever really exist?). Young people today may work in 17 different jobs across five separate careers in the course of their working life (https://www.fya.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FYA_TheNewWorkSmarts_July2017.pdf), so flexibility and adaptability are vital.

Self-Efficacy for Change:

Part of the reason for this multitude of jobs, is the inevitability of change in the workplace. Employees can no longer hide from change, it is part of organisational life. Those who will successfully negotiate the changing nature of work, employment and career are those who take the time to identify their own strengths and points of resistance to change, develop the confidence to engage with the future and ask questions (both of others and of themselves) and those who build the confidence of those around them to meet the challenges of the changing world.

Digital and Technological Literacy:

The flow of new technology, software and systems is constant and relentless. As of December 2019, an average of over 3000 new apps were released every day in the Google Play store (https://42matters.com/stats). Successfully negotiating this marketplace is not about guessing the next big thing and building specific technical expertise in the right software, system or coding language. It is about understanding the drivers for technological change; expanding your exposure to new products, and different technology and ways of operating; and developing the confidence to try new products and adapt to technological change through exploration and practice.

Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence is a key meta-competency that holds it all together. The winners in the new world of work will be those who can learn and understand the role of emotions in effective relationship building, decision making, performance and leadership. It will be those who are able to recognise, regulate and understand their own emotions and develop the ability to interpret and use them effectively in their relationships and work. Most important will be the ability to recognise, interpret and work with others' emotions more effectively.

Network Building:

Last, but potentially most importantly – Trusting, professional networks will be a key to success in the global project-based, gig economy of the future. Success in a short-term team oriented, freelance world of work will come to those who learn the value and importance of networks to employers, employees, business owners and customers.

The winners here will be those who take the time to use their emotional intelligence and digital literacy to actively grow trusting, collaborative networks.

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