The Robots Are Coming: Here’s How To Futureproof Yourself
According to the World Economic Forum, between 3 and 14% of the world’s workforce will need to change occupation by 2030, or lose their job.
This poses a number of problems to employees, who already see technology changing the nature of their role. But this could also present an enormous opportunity for the savvy worker, to take charge. To surf the wave of change, rather than drown in uncertainty.
Be more T
No, you don’t need to pity the foo’ – we’re talking about getting T-shaped. Think of your talents as a shape. To thrive in an uncertain future, you need to broaden your skillset. But to keep progressing, you need to specialise. So your priority is to build a T-shape expertise. Wide overall, but deep in one specific skill or task.
As more physical work is automated out, the economy of knowledge will grow. Workers will become prized for their unique perspectives or insights. The best way to develop insights? Get specific. Find your niche, and burrow into it. Rather than working in ‘customer service’ try specialising in a certain part of the role (such as conflict resolution or complaints) or in a certain industry (like high-end holiday packages or affordable shoes).
Just as a business has to find its USP and define its target market and personas, so will the employee of tomorrow.
Open yourself to new things
Perhaps you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up at eight years old. You may’ve followed your parent’s footsteps into a certain industry. It’s easy to create expectations and norms to follow. But with scale of change, career paths are unlikely to remain straight and linear. By applying a 20th century approach to a 21st century world, you could miss out on huge opportunities.
The key to keeping afloat, and ahead, will be flexibility and open-mindedness.
Whilst the narrative we all know is that a full-time job is key to stability, in the context of thousands of years of human history, it’s a recent construct. As the New Humanist magazine reflected, “it is full and secure employment, not [precarious jobs], which looks like the historical exception.”
The changing world of work could present the perfect opportunity to start working numerous roles; part-time or as part of the gig economy. You can now work for both love and money, side-by-side.
The rise of the robots is going to redefine the workplace, creating the largest redundancies and re-skilling in a generation. Yet some things won’t change – and that’s people.
People still prefer people to machines. Artificial intelligence can detect cancerous tumours as accurately as a doctor. But it cannot break the news to a family with empathy and tact. Humans are always going to need humans for certain things, so you should develop your soft skills and emotional intelligence.