5. Develop transferable skills
The depth and complexity of your skillset will be essential to the long-term resilience of your career in the future. Developing ‘transferable skills’ – otherwise known as ‘soft skills’, those general skills that you can adapt to use across multiple roles in multiple industries – will be essential to helping you cope with the changes of the future.
Skills can be divided into different categories depending on how specific and how general they are. If you search ‘skills categories’ on any search engine it’s likely that you’ll be confronted with a bewildering array of ways that people have tried to organise the various types of skills that we use as professionals.
Whilst it’s clear that there’s a lot of different ways of thinking about the topic, the point that most researchers agree on is that skills can be generally be classed as hard or soft. Spoiler: We’ve written an extensive blog about the difference between hard and soft skills that you can read if you’re eager to find out more about the two and how they can help your career development.
Hard skills are specific abilities that can be learned and, in turn, taught, to others in the workplace. Generally, they’re types of skills that can be demonstrated, quantified and measured. For example, knowing how to maintain a specific piece of software at your workplace would be a hard skill, as would knowing how to manage a project from start to finish, or how to process payroll at your company.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are skills that are more abstract than their hard skill counterparts. They are much more subtle and are harder to measure and quantify than hard skills. They are also notoriously hard to try and define. Think of things like having confidence, being able to lead a team, having a good work ethic etc. With traits like these, it’s harder to be able to definitively say that someone has that specific soft skill: instead, you have to use an element of intuition.
In fact, when it comes to futureproofing, soft skills could actually hold the key to safeguarding your career development.
The only thing we can accurately predict about the future is the fact that life will change. The issue is, we don’t know for certain in what ways it will change. We can only make educated guesses.
Hard skills are often made obsolete by changes in the economy and in the development of technology and this obviously makes it risky to overly specialise in them when it comes to building a long-term career. The best approach to futureproofing your skillset is to develop a strong set of soft skills alongside specialised ones. This should help you to improve your overall resilience and adaptability.
6. Target future-focused roles and industries
There’s widespread anxiety amongst professionals about the security of their roles in the face of rising challenges.
According to a ‘Future of Work’ study by MindEdge, cited in Forbes, 53% of managers surveyed reported that their employees were either ‘very’ or ‘fairly concerned’ about their job security, a figure that was notably up on previous years. In a survey by Pew Research, 65% of people who responded said that they that expected technology to ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ replace jobs that are currently performed by humans.
If you’re currently working in a role, or an industry, that you think will probably become obsolete soon and you’re working on changing careers, it makes sense to do some research into likely future industries and roles.
Unsurprisingly, most academics, tech commentators and scientists are pointing to the growth of AI, machine learning and automation as one suggestion of a new industry in which a range of new roles could be created.
If you’re looking for specific industries/ roles to target right now, Euronews.next explores some of the some potential areas that are experiencing growth now and potentially will do so in the future in this fascinating article. Cathay Hackl, a tech executive, also has some interesting thoughts on 7 jobs that will be created by technology in the future in this blog.