40% of all jobs are likely to be automated by 2030 – that’s according to Oxford University economists Dr Carl Frey and Dr Michael Osborne. The question is what new types of work will you be doing b…
40% of all jobs are likely to be automated by 2030 – that’s according to Oxford University economists Dr Carl Frey and Dr Michael Osborne. The question is what new types of work will you be doing by then? How will you be freed up from repetitive tasks as automation opens up new possibilities?
These are important questions to ask yourselves and while 2030 is in the distant future, automation is already happening. It’s likely to affect portions of almost all jobs, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company which recently analysed 2,000+ work activities in the US economy. It will require businesses to understand how their orgainzations will be transformed and how processes and culture will have to be changed as a result. It also requires a mindset shift in all of us. Here’s why.
Demographic changes are impacting us all in the workplace:
- We’re living longer – in the UK, the number of centenarians has risen by 72% over the last decade and life expectancy continues to increase across European countries. We’re all going to be working much longer and the idea of retirement is eroding. Some of us can expect to work up to 20 years after retirement age.
- We’ll have multiple careers – as we’ll be working longer, the concept of a ‘job for life’ is increasingly rare. Instead, we’ll have upwards of 10-15 different roles, careers and build a patchwork of skills designed to adapt to changing technologies and trends.
- Gigs won’t just be for musicians – we’re starting to see people choosing to work‘gig jobs’ having a portfolio of part-time jobs to give them freedom and flexibility in the types of work they do. It’s becoming increasingly popular with millennials, keen to try multiple pursuits at the same time.
Why the type of work we do is changing
The structure of employment is shifting – while automation, artificial intelligence and robots will replace certain jobs with repetitive tasks, new jobs will be created, while skills gaps in certain areas like cyber security and analytics will still exist. It’s estimated that by 2020 there will be 756,000 unfilled vacancies for ICT professionals in Europe. Last year, the EU Commission helped to form four new national coalitions to help build a stronger digital Europe – two of which were the Belgian Alliance for Digital Skills and Jobs and the Netherlands National Coalition.
What can you do?
At a personal level, it’s vital that you take responsibility for your own careers now so you can disrupt yourselves and learn new skills to ensure your future employability.
It requires a different approach to learning – where you take the initiative to learn continuously. It could be online learning courses, certification, reading blogs, forums, Medium posts, book club style learning sessions with colleagues – the possibilities are endless. But it demands a change in mindset to be open to new possibilities and invest time in your own personal development, something I’ve talked about previously in my post: Disrupt Yourself to Success.
Here are some useful questions to ask yourself to future proof your career:
- What skills do I currently have?
- Are these skills future proofed for the changing nature of work?
- What steps do I need to take to acquire new digital skills?
- What type of work interests me?
- Where are the current industry skills gaps? Could I re-train to move into one of these areas?
- Am I continuously learning?
- How can I make learning a daily habit?
Changing the type of work we do isn’t necessarily going to be a comfortable experience – but that’s OK. It’s part of the learning curve and helps you grow personally and professionally. There’s no time like the present to start future proofing your career and open yourself up to change.
What are you doing to future proof your career?
Are you comfortable in your current job but you feel that there’s something missing? Do you find your tasks are becoming routine and no longer challenging? Do you feel like you’ve reached a career peak and your job has lost its shine? Perhaps it’s time to disrupt yourself.
Most of us work with a personal goal or ambition in mind, whether it’s to develop new skills, make a difference, become famous or simply to provide for our families. When your work is challenging it energizes you, gives you drive and generally makes you feel good. Then, once you’ve finally achieved your goal or career ambition, you bask in the warm glow of your success and are happy to work at it thereafter.
However, after a time you may find that dream job, or a large part of it, becomes automatic and routine. This tends to occur when you enter a “comfort zone” in which you can confidently perform your work year in year out without issues. It’s a perfectly good place to be but it’s not where the magic happens. Growth, fresh ideas, innovation and creativity all occur when you are outside your comfort zones. So, in order to step outside the zone, you need to disrupt yourself, be prepared to learn new skills, open up to new experiences and go on a journey where the end goal might not even be in sight.
Career development is no longer the linear track it used to be, where we’d follow logical steps up the ladder to success. To accelerate personal growth requires courage to leave a comfortable position (where you are at the top of your S-curve), and take a step back or sideways to try something new (starting at the bottom of a new S-curve) that will take you further over time. Timing is important and good preparation before you jump to the next learning curve is essential for successful career advancement.
Here are a few tips to prepare for launch:
- Write down the functional and emotional elements that are important to you in a new role or job.
- Know your distinctive strengths and apply your special skills in a unique manner.
- Ensure your strengths align with the learning curve you are planning to undertake.
- Analyze how well your skills map to unmet needs.
- Be prepared to step down, step backwards or step sideways. When you’re seeking a new venture outside your comfort zone, you have to be prepared to invest in learning and developing before you can achieve success. For instance, to strengthen or learn new skills you may need to take a step back on the career ladder, or a step sideways into a new area of business and then learn the ropes.
- Embrace failure and use your experience wisely. If you welcome failure as a guide and teacher you’re more likely to find your way to success.
- Engage in discovery-driven planning where you have a plan but the outcome may be as yet unknown. If you pursue a disruptive course, you can’t see the top of the curve from the bottom and you may end up with a different result altogether.
- Follow the “equal odds rule”. This rule basically states that success is a numbers game. The best strategy is to produce as much work as possible in order to provide more opportunities to create something meaningful. For instance, if you want to write a frequently cited paper, publish a lot. If you want a successful business, go to work. If you want to sharpen your skills as disruptor, disrupt. As Woody Allen brilliantly pointed out: “80% of success is just showing up”.
In her latest book “Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work” Whitney Johnson http://whitneyjohnson.com/ talks about the importance of driving innovation through personal disruption. Definitely an interesting and worthwhile read!
Go ahead and disrupt yourself to success!
Mind full or mindful? Frazzled or “in the flow”? The demands of today’s hyper-connected and “always on” social and work environments certainly contribute to feeling frazzled. Too many interruptions, too much data, being over stimulated and an excessive number of demands all keep your mind racing backwards and forwards, feeling distracted, worried and increasingly stressed. And instead of having a clear focus and getting things done, you can’t seem to get started on your tasks and feel perpetually frazzled…
Now, cast your mind back to a time when you were so engaged in an activity that you lost all sense of time. When you were focused and fully concentrating, firing on al cylinders and forgetting where you were. That’s what’s known as being in the flow; a most productive and creative state of mind that is both exhilarating and satisfying.
Research on flow was pioneered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the leaders of the positive psychology movement, who set out to understand the roots of creativity and productivity. He found that we’re most likely to achieve flow when engaged in an activity with the right balance of challenge and skill. That’s when we’re at our best and delivering optimal performance. Being in the flow makes us also more aware; it opens our minds and makes it easier to remember different sorts of information. Making it easier to combine formerly unconnected elements to create something unique or have a “eureka” experience. Being in the flow feels good and makes us feel happy.
How can you get back in the flow and unleash your creativity? Here are 8 tips to help you on your way:
- Set a goal, one that is clear enough to provide focus but sufficiently open to leave room for free-flowing creativity.
- Ensure your skills match the challenge of the task. If the task is not challenging enough, you will get bored. If the challenge is too great you will get frustrated.
- Surround yourself with interesting objects or select an inspiring location to spark your creative thinking.
- Remove distractions and ensure you can fully concentrate on the task. Put mobile devices on mute and put a “do not disturb” sign on the door.
- Use your senses, notice your environment, how things look, feel and smell. By letting your senses come alive your mind will open up to new experiences and ideas.
- Flow feeds happiness and happiness feeds flow. Happiness expends creative thinking and allows you to see new perspectives and associations.
- Visualize your goal, it will help sculpt your brain’s neural pathways and stimulate a “can do” mindset.
- Embrace failure, as there is no creativity without failure and in the flow there is always a risk of failure. No guts no glory!
From feeling frazzled to getting back in the flow, looking forward to hearing what works for you!
Wellbeing@work – the human side of business
Do you realise that we now spend more time communicating than sleeping? Communication has always been a critical component in business but our means of communicating are continuing to evolve away from traditional forms such as e-mail, to more innovative, mobility-driven methods like FaceTime and Skype. Thanks to recent technological developments, we can now stay connected to the Internet from almost anywhere at any time, meaning our work is no longer confined to the office and is spilling into our personal lives. The boundaries between work and our personal lives are blurring to the point where the average adult today spends more time communicating than sleeping!
Adding to these technological trends and developments, the growing prevalence of Millennials is impacting the world of work. Millennials are more tech-savvy, expect to see innovation in the workplace, have a lot of confidence, and tend to rise to leadership positions faster:
- Millennials are set to make up three quarters of our workforce by 2025, if not sooner
- Millennials have significantly different mindsets to Generation X and Babyboomers. 33% would choose social media freedom and device flexibility over a higher salary, and 73% expect to be able to modify and customise their work computer
- 20% of Millennials want to obtain an upper management position
The balance of power has shifted
Not only have the barriers between work and personal life been eliminated, the balance of power has shifted in the employer-employee relationship, putting employees firmly in the driving seat. When considering the future workplace we need to look beyond technology and ask ourselves just what it is we want to achieve.
Workplace transformation must be driven by the desire to empower employees to aspire and achieve, to be their “best selves” at work and to actively contribute to – and share in – the sustainable success of the organization.
To support this transformation, organisational and hierarchical structures are changing, taking into account the needs of a multi-generation workforce and the business demands for increased flexibility, agility and creativity.
Diversity drives innovation
Working in diverse global teams in a 24/7 business environment requires different skill sets, management styles and support tools. The rise of more hybrid and flexible working structures – independent of organizational structures, business units or country borders – such as communities and “circles” will accelerate problem solving, product/service development and drive innovation. These will allow employees to work on projects and tasks with a clear purpose and objective, putting their talents and knowledge to best use in diverse groups of people with different backgrounds, cultures and skills.
New leadership styles need to be based on coaching, inspiring and rewarding team members to develop their talents and deliver their best. Authentic and empathic leaders will do well in the new world of work where the human side of business prevails.
The rise of the on-demand workforce
For a business or organization to be agile, responsive and innovative the right mix of skills and personalities is essential, some of which will not be available inside the organisation. The emergence of a flexible “on-demand” workforce, consisting of both own and external employees, will require organizations to rethink their sourcing strategy and their reward and talent management programs. Just like we saw a switch to “on-demand” services where you get and pay for only the services you need at any given time, no more and no less, the same will apply to workforce sourcing. Different experts will be sourced internally and externally to work together on projects and tasks, for a set time and with a clear purpose.
A flexible “on-demand” workforce will be key to meet the demands of organizations and businesses to remain competitive, cost effective and innovative.
Scarcity of talent, lack of skills and the increased speed of change will continue to drive the need for an on-demand workforce, giving your organization access to a network of specialists, experts, talents and professionals. This will require a complete overhaul of current HR approaches and processes, particularly with regard to sourcing and talent management.
Robots as co-workers
We’re facing the rise of robots and, if we are to believe the articles and posts in the media, over 50% of jobs could be automated over the next two decades. We’ve already experienced considerable automation of manual labor, especially in manufacturing and engineering. Supercomputers and intelligent software will further automate and replace cognitive work currently carried out by knowledge workers. Particularly analytical tasks, data collection and predictive analysis, but also service tasks such as customer service and healthcare support. Cognitive technologies such as speech recognition, computer vision and machine learning will enable machines that can talk, see, read, listen en learn. Welcome to the robot as co-worker and “talent”.
A well-managed transition of technology into the workforce improves productivity and creates time to add value. Whilst some jobs will be eliminated, others will change and new jobs will arise. Robots will be extremely helpful in improving efficiency and accuracy, providing more time for employees to apply their strengths, skills and talents to add value. Take the job of a translator for example. Technology has improved translation programs to such an extent that the translator’s role has largely changed to that of an editor with time to add value by transforming a good translation into great reading content.
Simplifying the complexity of work
The world is becoming increasingly data-driven.We create an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day and of all the data held in storage worldwide 90% has been created in the past two years alone! If you consider that the Internet of Things connects currently only 6% of all possible “things”, it is predicted that by 2020 more than 26 billion devices will be connected. Did you know that in one day more than 100 billion emails are exchanged, yet only one in seven is critically important? We spend, on average, 30% of our working day reading and answering e-mails and check our mobile phones more than 150 times a day!
Technology, globalization, social tools, mobility, 24/7 access all contribute to data overload and work stress. Furthermore, the increase in security, regulatory and compliance demands add to the administrative and reporting tasks of every manager and employee. Add to that the different business processes and procedures that grow exponentially with the size of an organization and the multitude of meetings and conference calls that take up further valuable work time, it is clear that work complexity needs to be simplified for organisations to remain agile and competitive.
Simplifying work will create valuable time to focus on the task at hand (“staying in the flow”) resulting in improved productivity and better creativity. This can be achieved by improving the physical work environment with clean desk policies and quiet rooms, simplifying the work itself through better business processes and reduced administrative burdens and applying technology to support new ways of communicating and working together.
Getting prepared for the future of work
To prepare for the future of work, businesses need to start initiating action now in areas ranging from introducing new communication and collaboration tools to establishing different leadership styles, culture changes and organisational structures. Embracing technology will smooth the transition to a new world of work, and empower employees to develop their talents and deliver their best.
The future of work will be radically different – it’s work but not as we know it. The good news is that most companies are already aware that change is inevitable and many have already started forward-looking initiatives and programs. The challenge lies in engaging and empowering the entire organization to drive a successful transformation to the new world of work.
Disruptive? Yes. Rewarding? Certainly!
For detailed references see http://ascent.atos.net/ready-future-work/