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How to Prepare for the #futureofwork

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Published

16 Mar 2016

Duration

5 minute read

It has been estimated that 65% of children entering primary schools in 2016 will be working in roles that don't exist today. Why is this?

There are three main forces changing the way work works: technology, underemployment and globalisation.

  1. Technology is making many processes faster and easier. Methods include automation, productivity apps, communications apps, labour platforms and shift setting software. Some include Uber, Ebay, Freelance, Slack, Google Apps, Google Apps. Github, and Workable. They work to speed up any underlying trends.
  2. High levels of unemployment and underemployment due to patchy recovery from the great recession.
  3. Globalisation. Technology is making it easier for people from around the world to work in nearly any role in any company in the right conditions, regardless of if migration laws cater for them.

On a wider scale, this is leading to...

  1. Companies making more work contracts project rather than time based so they can use staff with super specialised skills
  2. Middle and high skilled people with established reputations are doing more remote work.
  3. Credential creep for entry level work due to oversupply of labour. You've got to do more internships, have more experience, more university study.

How automation will impact work:

  1. Low skilled work is usually low pay. Labour has to be at location. It's not replicable, too expensive or not right for automation or robots, and doesn't need much training. Includes cleaning, care, most hospitality and retail.
  2. Middle skilled work is usually middle pay. It's replicable, and you can automate it or offshore it with relative ease. It needs a little more training. This includes entry level work for higher skilled jobs like law and finance. Includes small ticket sales, beauty, administration, office work, labouring, fabrication.
  3. High skilled work is usually high pay. It is creative knowledge work. It is not replicable, but can complement automation. It needs many years of training. Includes law, medicine, technology, science, engineering, mathematics, fine arts, policy research.

What to learn:

According to Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore Country, you need four types of skills:

  1. A deep knowledge of the work
  2. A facility with technology
  3. An ability to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving
  4. People skills

How do you show you have these skills?

It's a four step process.

  1. Don't just go t-shaped, become a hybrid. Hybrids have at least 2 in-depth skills. This is usually one tech and one non-tech. They also know the basics of others. This is 1 and 2. For example, PwC is looking for law and accounting professionals who can code in C++ to develop enterprise with them. Other examples of hybrid jobs include data analytics (business development and higher maths) and marketing (basic analytics, marketing and business development).
  2. Create a portfolio. If you're early in your career, this may be a combination of contract work, internships, and certain forms of volunteer work. At this stage, you may have what futurst Morris Miselowski calls a "work portfolio", which will provide evidence of 3 & 4.
  3. Get networking. Develop a public profile. Build reputation capital. Reputation capital is "the sum total of your personal brand, your expertise, and the breadth, depth and quality of your social networks". This is 4, and possibly 3.
  4. Continue to pick up skills through bootcamps and online courses. Read industry news. This is 1, and should be added to 2.

Now, go forth and conquer! Best of luck.


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