The world is rapidly changing. Never before in our history has there been such a time of unprecedented change.
It does not even look like it is going to abate. If anything, the pace of change is accelerating exponentially. Innovation and disruption are the norm.
The impacts of automation, globalization and the changing nature of work are the three main reasons for this.
The past few years of disruption to our economy and jobs has shown that any role that can be replaced by technology will be. It is estimated that almost half of jobs that exist today have a high probability of being affected by automation in the next 10-15 years. Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are improving all the time and have significantly decreased the number of repetitive, routine jobs. As an example, in Australia over the last 25 years over a million jobs have been lost in manufacturing and administration.
We are living in a global society. The world has become a smaller place, with communication and technologies transforming the way we connect with the world. We connect, collaborate and learn on a personal and professional level with people anywhere in the world.
How we work is also changing rapidly. The number of self-employed people and entrepreneurs is rising exponentially. The ‘gig’ economy, where people hire themselves out to different companies for a set period of time, is flourishing. Currently, one in three people are self-employed or contingent workers.
Digital nomads are also on the increase. The types of jobs are also changing and with it the length of time young people will stay in any one job. Research shows that young people will stay an average of three years per job over their working life. This means a young person will have 17 different jobs in their lifetime over an estimated five careers.
Navigating the globalized and automated world of work
With the changing nature of work and the rise of the ‘gig’ economy, young people and, in fact, people of all ages need to be able to navigate the world of work and have the capabilities and resources to manage their own careers and make informed decisions about where and how they work. Traditionally, career paths have been linear. People climbed the career ladder and mostly stayed in the one workplace over many years. This is no longer the norm.
People need to have a good level of self-awareness so they clearly understand their own strengths, core values, and where they can make a difference. Portability of skills and the ability to set both short- and long-term goals are increasingly important attributes.
Never before has lifelong learning being so relevant. With accelerating change, people will need to be open to learning and plug back into education to upskill and retrain throughout their lives. Learning is also changing rapidly. It is becoming more personalized with people having more choices of what they want to learn and how. Learning is becoming more collaborative and the latest technologies are adapting lessons to the needs and skills of individual students with learners placed clearly at the center. It is predicted that by 2030 we will, on average, spend 30% more time learning skills on the job. Continuous learning is becoming the norm as are immersive, inquiry-based learning experiences that go beyond the classroom.
Key portfolio of attributes and capabilities for success
For young people and, in fact, people of all ages, to flourish in this new world, being able to call upon a portfolio of transferable skills is essential. Entrepreneurial and creative thinking skills are key. It is not enough now to have good problem-solving skills. You need to able to foresee potential problems and utilize design-thinking capabilities to move ahead. Now more than ever, having creativity and the ability to think outside the box will be a decided asset.
With so much information at our fingertips through the internet, having good critical thinking and discerning skills are essential, as is the ability to use logic and reasoning to identify alternative solutions and approaches.
Communication and interpersonal skills are also integral. Because of automation, more time at work is spent on communicating and collaborating and less on repetitive, routine tasks. This will only continue to increase. Networking and relationship building are integral in this increasing collaborative world as are active listening, negotiation and influencing skills. Connecting and building synergies are vital. We know the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.
As mentioned earlier, to navigate this increasingly complex world of work, people need to have the capabilities and resources to manage their own careers and make informed decisions about where and how they work. They need to be clear about their skill sets and what they want to contribute so they can make informed decisions and understand options available to them. Research shows that when a person trains or works in one job, they have acquired skills for 13 other jobs. It is no longer about a linear career path but about an individual’s portfolio of transferable skills and their aspirations.
Having a high level of emotional intelligence, being able to manage our own emotions and others, is vital. Practicing mindfulness and acceptance of our emotions and understanding our individual strengths and weaknesses can only enhance our ability to thrive.
Having a growth mindset is another integral attribute. Having a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset allows us to be more open to learning, to see the value of effort to improve our existing abilities, and be less afraid of failure and more open to possibility. This passion for personal growth and perseverance when times are challenging is the key facet of the growth mindset. Studies show that the number one trait underpinning innovation and creative achievements is the ability to stretch yourself to learn something new and view failure as lessons in improvement and a key component of eventual success.
Hand in hand with the growth mindset is having the resilience to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Being able to bounce back from challenging times and seeing failure as a means to learning and growth as well as having the ability to embrace change and be proactive gives us the tools to thrive in this new world.
In this increasingly automated and connected world, having the skills, attributes and mindset necessary to produce ideas really does matter.