The Future of Work: Jobs

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The Future of Work: Jobs

We’ve been trained to accept that post-secondary education will lead to a life-long career. This used to be true but now our grads are suffering from high unemployment rates or are underemployed at jobs that barely require a high school diploma. If that wasn’t tough enough you can expect 70% of existing jobst o disappear in the next 2 decades.  That’s right. 70%. Entry-level service jobs will be the first to go. We are already seeing evidence of this rapidly changing job market.

Disrupting forces are at work and the signs are everywhere. Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have at least heard, in passing, about McDonalds and other restaurants replacing front-end workers with order screens. These machines may make it easy for people to make their purchase choices and make the whole process flow smoothly but the technology does eliminate the need for many front-line order takers and cashiers – one of the first jobs many of us over 30 had growing up.

Taxis, chauffeurs and truck drivers can all expect to be affected by self-driving vehicles. Driverless trucks will be deemed safer than when operated by sleepy long-haul drivers. Jobs will be lost.

It is not uncommon nowadays to hear taxis complain about Uber and other ride sharing services. Driverless cars are not on the road yet for public use but I’m sure the idea of same has the taxi industry scared. What Taxi drivers and the industry fail to realize however is that technology is rapidly changing things.  The Taxi industry is a dinosaur. It is time to adapt or go extinct. Instead of putting so much effort into fighting technological and disruptive advances, why not prepare for the future? Look at what your next level competition is doing and adapt accordingly.

The advancement of automation will change many more jobs. Many of these jobs will disappear while others will be altered in such a way that the traditional view of the word no longer makes sense. The legal field, for example, will still have lawyers however AI will be used for ediscovery and document prep with greater accuracy than legal staff could attain.  While many of these just will cease to exist as we know them, there will be a growing need for those that have a human connection such as speakers who provoke emotion, nurses who care for patients (though medical tests themselves will change) and my amazing friend Sam who is a professional cuddler – yes! That is a real career and for this former engineer it is one that makes sense in a world where we all need a little more human connection.

So. It’s time for change. As I said earlier, 70% of existing jobs will disappear but that does not mean there will be a job shortage – it means it’s time to adapt to new technology and embrace change. I know it’s scary but YOU can do it! One way to combat change is to work on yourself.  Broaden your skill sets. Learn new technologies. Look for ways you can help your workplace or business become more efficient. Changes in your industry may be small or gigantic but there is still no need to panic. If you embrace change and are willing to learn there will be a ton of opportunity awaiting you!

Our next generation is better prepared than us for a rapidly changing job market.  They are technology superior, socially responsible and easily adapt to change. Their apparent lack of commitment to an employer is viewed as a downside to the Millenial and Gen X,Y,Z workforce but in the changing world of work, its not surprising.

Youth are embracing what is known as the Gig economy – short term projects that keep changing.  It is expected that much of the future of work will be based on the Gig economy with experts taking on tasks as required. Companies save money by not hiring full-time staff when they don’t really need them and youth get the opportunity to plan their work around their own preferred likes. Youth are enjoying life more. They want the freedom a gig economy can give them to travel, play sports, spend time with family, learn and explore. And really – don’t you want this too?

So how do we prepare ourselves and our kids for the future? There are many uncertainties about the future of work but one thing for sure is that it will look very different from the world today. Artificial intelligence, computers and tech will all be key parts of the future world. We may have more leisure time to explore our own passions. Basic income could offset our earning needs – but that’s another topic.

To prepare for the future, embrace change, keep learning and find your passion. Stop worrying about saving your job and start being concerned about how to pivot into a new role. The future will be what you make it.