With the speed by which technological innovation is taking place, predicting what the future of work will be is no easy task. The only thing we can be certain about is that tech-driven innovation in the market is already accelerating.
Due to the emergence of the pandemic earlier this year, companies were forced to shift their entire working model to remote work. The transition brought with it the accelerated adoption of emerging technologies. We realize we're not the first to say it but it's worth repeating: the future of work has already arrived. While this may be unnerving to many, there are ways by which you can stay ahead of the game.
Robots Are Not Taking Over Our Jobs
We’ve read it again and again—articles headlined with “the robots are coming for your job”. It’s a statement that’s been told with such an ominous certainty over the years, premised on the belief that as tech advances, human labor retreats. Soon, whatever we can offer to the table will be obsolete.
Against such a backdrop, it’s easy to see why people are getting anxious. But the impact of an automated economy is more nuanced than what the foreboding headlines have suggested. The robots are coming, that’s true, but not necessarily to wipe out our jobs. If anything, they’re changing the structure of work, and for the better. That is, by having people and intelligent machines (or software in many cases) as colleagues in the workplace.
To adapt to this, the human workforce would have to invest in acquiring new skills, particularly those that would help them “collaborate” with tech efficiently and effectively. Hundreds of channels have been created to facilitate this. Colleges and universities have begun offering degrees that specialize in all things tech. Others have launched non-traditional routes in the form of trade schools, coding bootcamps and massive online open courses, all of which are open for anyone looking to gain skill in tech in a fraction of the time and cost that traditional learning takes.
Prioritize Soft Skills
As an automated economy continues to rise, it’s the skills that cannot be replicated by machines that will serve as the edge of the human workforce. This means leveraging creativity, good interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence in the workplace. Gone are the days when a collaborative workplace was frowned upon in favor of a robotic and ultra-competitive one. At a time where smartphones, laptops, and virtual apps are the standard channels for interaction, the possession of sophisticated communication skills and a collaborative mindset is becoming more essential.
This was highlighted by LinkedIn’s latest report which found creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence as the soft skills that companies are most in need of. The report highlighted the shift from the demand for task-centric skills, such as time management, from last year to human-centric skills this year. Just as courses for technical skills have been made available online, programs teaching how to cultivate said soft skills are also being offered by several career sites and advisors.
There Is No Ladder
The growth of the gig economy is perhaps rooted in the rise of technology, as well as the pandemic. As high-speed Internet access became more pervasive, working professionals were afforded the flexibility to work anywhere they wanted, eroding the traditional nine-to-five cubicle standard that once defined the workplace. This led to an increase in gig workers, more commonly known as freelancers, who opt for more independent and flexible employment.
If you want to thrive in the future of work, it’s perhaps best for you to dispel thoughts of the traditional career path, otherwise known as the corporate ladder. Increasingly employees are being empowered to drive their own career mobility by taking advantage of the diverse opportunities offered by innovative organizations looking to grow and retain their best talent.
Make yourself indispensable by being more well-rounded and adaptable to an ever-changing market.
Keep Up With the Trends
As we move to a more automated workforce, we must equip ourselves with the skills necessary to work hand-in-hand with machines. It’s a much more respectable and proactive response than succumbing to that doomsday forecast, “robots are coming for your jobs”.