Have you reached a point in your career where your job-related skills might soon be or are already obsolete? Are you ready to develop new skills that have value in today and tomorrow’s job market?
Over the last 18 months an increasing number of my Life Coaching clients have expressed concern about their jobs becoming obsolete due to the advances brought forth by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IOT), and Industry 4.0 (I4). If you have read any of the headlines about these technologies you’re certainly aware of the doom and gloom predictions about their impact on business models and job security. Although a great number of jobs will become obsolete, the rapid implementation of these technologies will also create jobs and opportunities that do not exist today. In most cases these new jobs will require those in today’s workforce to reskill and gain a new set of skills.
Regardless of the industry, by 2020 up to 35% of skills an employee needs to sufficiently perform their job will change. New jobs that might not even be technical in nature, are being created through advanced technologies, and will require a 21st century workforce with the skills that are valued in the 21st century job market. In fact, we have already witnessed how new technologies are transforming operations, have led to the changing of day-to-day duties and have resulted in making current skills obsolete and lowering demand for them. A great example of this is in air travel, where it is now very normal to check bags, select a seat, and obtain a boarding pass without talking directly with a single airline staff member. Although this check-in process has made air travel a bit easier, these activities have altered the travel industry and resulted in lower overall demand for these skills.
Taking steps to ensure that your career and skills will have a place in tomorrow’s workplace is nothing new. There has always been a rule of thumb that over the course of a career a career and skills assessment should be completed every 3-to-4 years to highlight any potential skills gaps. There are several methods available to assess current skills and determine what skills will be valued tomorrow. These include:
- Conducting an assessment of your current skills by doing research and asking yourself: What level are my skills in demand today? What about 5 years from now?
- Determining if there are valuable skills to learn that are adjacent or related to your current capabilities that would be in demand later.
- Reviewing job postings with a focus on the job requirements to get a clear idea on what skills are currently in demand and what trends are coming related to future high in demand skills.
Those that have completed a skills assessment and understand what skills will be in demand, must next decide whether to risk being stagnant or to take actions to enhance their performance skills. As a Career Coach, it has been my experience that those with careers spanning over 20 years, are likely to have fear or doubt their ability to learn new workplace skills. Due to this fear, they tend to focus on finding a new job that requires and values their existing skills. This option though, only provides short-term security as it is likely that their skills will continue to lose value in the 21st century job market and they will soon face the same situation.
Employees are not alone in the drive to reskill, as several organizations are aware of the risks of having a large workforce with skills gaps for future internal jobs. Last year, AT&T announced an investment of US $1B to retrain its workers for the future. This was followed, in July 2019, with an announcement by Amazon that it would invest $700 million to retrain workers across the U.S. to allow them to move into skilled technical and non-technical roles by 2025. These organizations are investing in their current workforce by proactively providing training for jobs that will be needed in the future. It is no secret that current employees are highly valuable. In addition to the skills required for their job, they also possess knowledge of the corporate culture, customers, and business operations. If available, this option is somewhat of a win-win for the employee and organization as the employee is able to reskill while on the job and the organization can avoid the high costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.
Most people will not have this option and will look to reskilling on their own and then obtaining a role in a new organization. This path can be scary at first as it requires the need to first develop new skills required for the new job. The results from the assessments should provide a clear idea of the size of the skills gap and approximately how long it will take to fill that gap. Regardless of whether it will take months or years, there is no need to be afraid. There remains plenty of time to identify and start taking the actions to develop these new skills on your own.
In today’s reality, data not money is king. Consider that about 10 years ago, there were a handful of jobs that required strong data analysis and analytics skills. Today however, the ability to analyze and dissect customer data to understand their habits and tendencies, is a major driver of revenue at industry giants such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Over the past five years, based on Amazon’s own data, data mapping specialists have seen job growth of 832% while data scientists jobs grew 505%. Those that identified this trend years ago and developed the necessary skills, now have skills that are highly valued and in demand. As true job security requires developing new skills throughout an entire career, by assessing your skills, identifying future job and skill trends, and taking immediate action; you can ensure that you have the skills that will be in high demand and lead you to a truly high-valued career.
If you are ready to assess your career and put in place a plan to ensure you succeed in the 21st century job market, contact me here. I will help you to assess your current career path, identify your desired future career, and identify actions to reach your new career! Click to schedule a free coaching session and learn how to ensure you remain valuable in the marketplace.
About the Author:
Colin C. Thompson is a Certified LIFE Coach (CLC) and the founder of Oligye LIFE Coaching and the Shanghai LIFE Coaching Collective. Specializing in personal development, relocation, and career coaching, Colin coaches individuals and groups on how to reach their dreams, goals, and desires. To learn more about Colin and Oligye Life Coaching, visit us at Oligye.com. Oligye LIFE Coaching is a business of Oligye Enterprises LLC.
1 Adobe, (2018). “The Half-Life of Your Skills is Shrinking — Here’s What You Can Do About It”. Available: https://theblog.adobe.com/the-half-life-of-your-skills-is-shrinking-heres-what-you-can-do-about-it/
2 Puja Lalwani (2019). “Upskilling the Workforce: Key Takeaways From Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 Program”. Available: https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/learning-development/upskilling-the-workforce-amazon-upskilling-2025/
3 Sarah Perez (2019). “Amazon invests $700 million to retrain a third of its US workforce by 2025”. Available: https://techcrunch.com/2019/07/11/amazon-invests-700-million-to-retrain-a-third-of-its-u-s-workforce-by-2025/
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