How to prepare yourself for the Future of Work


Future of Work studies are starting to become part of mainstream media. My interest with them began after my own career identity meltdown a few years ago when I asked myself “what nature of work is possible for me to love just as much as my old career?”


What is the Future of Work all about?  They are a collection of studies by consulting firms, economists, government departments and thoughtleaders providing insight to drivers that are changing the workplace, the nature of jobs and skills and how to prepare for them.


Most of the studies are based around 2020, 2025 and some go up to 2040.  If these years seem to be in the distant future – remember that 2020 is merely 4 years away!


Think of how your career has evolved (or not!) over the past 4 years – and it will give you an appreciation of how the pace of change will only increase.


So why is Future of Work receiving so much attention?

Whilst change drivers may differ by industry – globally the same key trends face us all:

  • The speed to technological change and impact for how we engage, work and access each other and our customers
  • Global collaboration will continue to change and shape how we work going forward (think outsourcing, crowd sourcing)
  • Entrepreneurship is seeing the largest growth in the history of man – in part due to the two trends above


How can you ensure your career and skills are relevant in our ever-changing world?


Know thyself

Invest in yourself – understand what drives your motivation, your internal blocks and how to stay connected with your life vision – these are areas that are intrinsic to staying relevant and intuitive as changes arise.

Too often, people need a rude awakening to get them REALLY thinking about their lives. We put it off as we’re too busy with work, kids, activities. Tomorrow will be around soon enough.


This is not meant as a fear-monger tactic – time and time again the clients I work with have been pushed to a point of realisation that yet another year went by and they didn’t make the changes they had been talking about for so long.


The insight, self awareness and resilience that comes along with staying connected to Self is one of the greatest gifts I believe you can give yourself.


Prioritise skill development

Future of Work studies try to predict which jobs will be in / out of fashion by the 2020’s and beyond. Reading different studies (there are many of them – see here and here) you quickly realise:

  • It’s hard to predict with certainty by category
  • The academic studies you commit to today, may have little relevance in 5 years time as we don’t fully know what jobs will be created.


I know, I get it – this can sound like high level, generalisation and global speak gumpf when it comes to your job, your company and the career path you want to map.


However, if you’re not actively honing and thinking about your skills on a regular basis, you’ll find when the next round of restructuring comes around (as it inevitably does) – a key aspect to changing the conversation is about your transferable skills.


Top skills to develop and hone are:

  • Adaptability. This means being flexible, open to change and new ideas. Be willing to take on new challenges and open to try different things.
  • Ability to work in a global mindset. Virtual teams, virtual workprocess management, cultural diversity are rapidly becoming part of our daily fabric. Understanding how to work with, collaborate and bring together the different points of views, in an environment where you may never meet another colleague in person, are critical skills to be relevant going forward
  • Critical thinking. The ability to analyse, assess and reconstruct data to clearly communicate the problem and potential solution. This bring us back to the self-awareness point earlier. We operate from a preset of filters that create a certain way of thinking for us. Critical thinking is the ability to mindfully move past these presets and be open to other possibilities the information presents to us.


Research your industry and understand future drivers

By 2020, it’s estimated that more than 40% of the USA workforce will be independent workers – either as freelancers, contractors and temporary employees. The reasons differ by industry – however a common theme is the impact of technology, changing nature of jobs and employers bringing in specialist skills for nano-jobs as they grow.


How can you stay relevant in your industry? Attend more conferences, ask questions, meet with thoughtleaders.

Listen to what is being said.

Listen to what is NOT being said.


When you listen with the open mind of ‘what changes does this mean for our industry?’, it gives you insight to answer “what does that mean for me and what I enjoy?”



If you’d like to explore how to prepare yourself for these changes – book a 30 minute Discovery call with me here.


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