It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict what workplace requirements of the future will be. As the digital revolution intensifies, the job market of the future can no longer be based on the circumstances of the past. Artificial intelligence is able to replace humans in so many tasks and many more humans are being pushed out of the job market as a result. At the same time, new jobs are being created.
It is generally agreed that most of what our kids are learning in school today will probably be irrelevant by the time they are in their late thirties, and the biggest educational dilemma of our times is what to teach in schools if we don’t really know what the job market of the future will require.
All we know is that the future of work is characterised by change, and job training will need to respond accordingly...
Job training that embraces change as a constant
The job market has always been defined by change, and it has always been through training that the needs and expectations of the job market have been met. However, the rate of change has accelerated considerably in recent times. Now, more than ever, job training needs to respond to current demands with an eye on future trends. The more job training embraces change, with an eye on the future, the more will it manage to respond to the constantly evolving demands of a productive and profitable workforce.
Acknowledging that the traditional method of job training is obsolete
Traditionally life has been divided into 2 parts – a period of learning followed by a period of working. The period of learning was characterised by identity building and skills acquisition in preparation for the future, while the period of working signified the realisation of a stable identity with the required skills to start navigating a financially stable future and becoming an active citizen. This no longer suffices.
Job training and the upskilling of employees have extended the period of learning into the period of working. It is only through ongoing training that current and future exigencies of the job market can be met. There may be some organisations that still do not offer job-related training and still operate through the traditional method of job training. But fortunately, this is not the case for most organisations as it is now recognised that training and upskilling is not only necessary to survive into the future, it is also a way to care for and retain employees.
Embracing a flexible work identity
Discourse has started to center on career changes and how to negotiate them successfully. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index – a global survey of over 30,000 people in 31 countries shows that more than 40% of respondents said they are considering leaving their employer this year.
There is much that is unknown about the future of the work landscape, but the starting point is that a stable identity, a stable job, and a stable worldview are no longer the goals of future job training.
No young person undertaking a course of studies or embarking on a new job can safely assume it will remain the same throughout one’s working life. On the contrary, instability or more appropriately a constant state of flux needs to be embraced.
Defining the required skills for a flexible work identity
Future job seekers who are prepared for a flexible work identity are more likely to be resilient, balanced, and able to deal with stress. The best investment is in emotional intelligence and mental balance. These are the skills that will prepare workers of the future to keep changing and learning throughout life.
Additionally, the transfer of information will no longer take precedence. Before it was necessary because not everyone had access to information, but nowadays, living as we do in the information era, perhaps the most important skill in regard to information is knowing how to sift and sort through information so as to be more focused and in possession of the tools to construct reality and truth from the information available.
Understanding the dynamics of change
Even as the traditional method of job training is rejected and the required skills for a flexible work identity are acquired, there needs to be an understanding that none of this will be enough. Future job seekers will also need to develop the ability to keep changing and learning throughout their lives.
This resonates very deeply with the concept of lifelong learning and what Ken Robinson describes as the organic process of education, whereby education is translated in the creation of spaces and conditions where people continue to flourish and grow throughout their lives.
Forging closer links between academia and business organisations
This is needed so that learners in the workplace or yet to move into the workplace keep pace with the changing needs of the workforce.
It will also help education providers to continuously add more content on future trends and technologies and to help future employees/leaders think critically about future opportunities and the range of skills they will need to navigate an AI future.
An important metaphor on how job training for the future contrasts with that of the past has aptly been presented by the eminent author and historian, Yuval Noah Harari. He describes previous education and job training as building a house with very deep foundations. Nowadays, he likens training for the future of work to a tent that you can fold up and move to another location very quickly and easily.
Future jobseekers will need to be confident with working arrangements that are not necessarily long-term and with transferable skills that will enable them to move into alternative jobs more easily and across the duration of their entire working lives.
It may well be that the era of the Great Resignation that we are currently witnessing is already serving as the prologue of this grand narrative that is about to unfold.
Bottom line – it’s going to be an open attitude to change and appropriate responses to counter such change that will adequately prepare current and future generations of job seekers.
If your organisation is searching for the right team to help you navigate the future, look no further and search with Ceek! We take a holistic view of recruitment with an eye on the future and your business goals in mind. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your team grow. On the other hand, if you're a jobseeker looking for an employer with a vision of career development that matches yours, we are here to help!