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5 ways to prepare yourself for the future of work

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In times of economic uncertainty, it can be comforting to seek a recession-proof job.  The sad reality, however, is that all jobs are prone to change and open to economic impact.

Currently, tourism, retail, professional services and hospitality sectors have experienced some of the most significant impacts.  In contrast, there has been growth in health, caring, call-centres and cleaning jobs, and continued growth in technology and cyber-security roles.

However, think back 12 months ago, and the conversation was about the changing nature of work provoked by the impacts of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics.  While that conversation may have faded into the background, it hasn’t gone away.

The technology revolution is continuing, while we are economically facing unemployment rates not seen since the days of the great depression.

If you currently work in a profession or role that’s not affected, it can be easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security.

In today’s working world, there is no such thing as a job for life or a recession-proof career.   Surviving this environment requires more effort, focus and deliberate action.  Here are five tips to keep you ready for whatever the future holds

1. Embrace change

Getting comfortable starts with building your resilience for the inevitable change that will arise and adopting a growth mindset, so you are ready to adapt.

As well, proactively determine what any current and potential future changes may mean for you, your profession and industry.  With that knowledge to hand, you are better able to decide the action to take because you will more readily notice where there are gaps and opportunities in the market to pursue.

2. Get invested

Critically examine your career – where you are now, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there.

As part of this step be clear on the value you offer prospective employers. Everyone brings specific skills and ways of operating to the work they do. It’s essential to be able to articulate that value and explain how you can help an organisation, business or client achieve their objectives.

However, what’s valued changes over time, and so you need to keep your value offering current.

3. Focus on connection

According to the McKinsey Global Institute Report (2017), people in caring, technology or knowledge roles will be the least impacted by artificial intelligence and automation, while technicians, processors and people doing predictable physical work will be most impacted.

While the predictable, routine and process elements of roles will be automated, what can’t be automated is the relational, emotional and leadership skills needed for work. Consequently, having strong self-awareness and emotional intelligence is just as important as the technical skills a person uses in their work.

4. Find your learning edge

Career success requires a constant desire to learn and a willingness to equip yourself with new competencies and capabilities.  Strive for learning that is broad and deep by staying abreast of the latest thinking from your profession, and also from complementary occupations and industries.

For example, read books on topics that expand your knowledge base, undertake micro-credentials or enrol in online courses to acquire new skills.

5. Build your advisory board

Many jobs are unadvertised, so networking is crucial not just to land a new job, but also to help you identify what roles are available.  As well, meeting new people will help to expand your awareness of potential next steps, how things are changing and what new opportunities are opening up.

As part of this process, identify the core people in your network who make up your career advisory board.  This board may include a sponsor, mentor or career coach, who help you navigate and adapt to the changing working world.  They provide advice, share insights, constructively challenge your thinking and actions, and provide connections and ideas.

The future of work is here, and the question to consider is what else you need to do to be ready for it?

About Michelle Gibbings

Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert, who works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’. www.michellegibbings.com

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