It’s a well-known fact that 65% of today’s school children may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet, and if society has no idea what jobs are going to be out there when they finish college or university, how on earth are they going to prepare? How can we plan for our careers when we have no idea what we are planning for?!

Although workplace disruption isn’t new, it is taking a different form. The redundancy of jobs used to be an issue for vocational workers, and it was always the case that what our grandfathers did might be a career path that doesn’t exist now. However, the theory was that going to university gaining an education could help us to avoid this uncertainty in our career. After university you’d get a job and a career would form right in front of you, now it’s more like a game of Pac man with ghosts flying out of every corner. 

Furthermore, even those in work are becoming redundant and our traditional employment model is broken. Even middle to senior managers, with plenty of experience, are finding that their chances of promotion are dwindling as the company outsources to foreign countries or their industry is being disrupted.

So how can we rectify this uncertainty? How can we plan for the future to better navigate the instability in careers? What do we need to do to stay relevant as we develop in our careers? Here are a few ideas:

Consider something that’s relevant

Take a job where there are vacancies and there will be even more vacancies in the future. 

This could be anything from engineering or progamming, to more hands-on careers like plumbing or nursing. 

Test yourself 

Even if you are very happy in your current role and find that you are good at it, don’t get too complacent and fall into “the success trap”. The environment you are working in is more than likely to eventually become disrupted, whether it’s from a new boss, or the company being sold, and you may find that you don’t have the skills and experience to go elsewhere or move up the ladder.

If you see your career as running your own mini business, take time to understand how to minimise the shock of an environment change, and add to your inventory of skills so that you can move into different roles.

Get skills

With single skillset jobs in decline, such as becoming a bank teller, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study has shown that employers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.

Furthermore, David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, thinks that soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial for future career development. He says the modern workplace, where people move between different roles and projects, closely resembles pre-school classrooms, where we learn social skills such as empathy and cooperation. 

So this is a reminder to concentrate on your mathematical and interpersonal skill development!

Be flexible

No one can predict the future, and even 10 years ago social media didn’t exist. However, nowadays social media marketing, SEO, blogging - all industries related to the internet - are lucrative career paths. 

As we didn’t know that social media was going to be a big thing and we won’t know what the next big thing will be, we have to make sure that we’ve as many skills as possible under our belt and can constantly relearn and educate ourselves. 

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