"Career: An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress." – Oxford Dictionary
How things have changed. This definition of a career was applicable to a world where there used to be a sequential path: finish your education, go find a job, work hard, be promoted and retire. But it just does not cut it anymore and certainly not for the future. A multi-career journey will be the norm for most of us and a certainty for our children. There are three good reasons for this: technology is transforming every sector of work; our life expectancy is rising; lifestyle choices are changing.
Technical innovation, just like industrial revolution before it, brings about fundamental shifts in skills required in the workplace; and the shift is now faster, more frequent and more complex. Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning, internet of things and 3D printing are currently transforming every job, person, nation, business and industry. With such a massive change, forged by advanced technologies introduced in the mainstream, there is a strong need for a workforce that has the capacity to understand these technologies' potential as well as the challenges, the ethics and bias in their engagement with them (Baker, 2019).
Innovations in the field of medicine has seen an increase in life expectancy. Many skills and job roles will become redundant over a lifetime and many more will be created. As role requirements change with the advent of new technologies, employers look for candidates who are nimble and able to transition to new roles faster. Creating a portfolio with a breadth of interdisciplinary skills, qualifications and experience will help pivot your career to new and different fields or to a new phase in a related field (Blake, 2016).
Lifestyle choices where part-time work, working from home or a café, creating a start-up, taking a career break and re-entering, developing a creative project as a side hustle, commoditising your hobby or passion while maintaining a primary job, or even checking off a bucket list of jobs – are all becoming the norm (White, 2018). Capitalising on these options requires a mentality of career agility fuelled by life-long learning and ability to identify opportunities, recognise risks, a willingness to change lanes as needed and, above all, some hard work. Gaining interdisciplinary knowledge and skill is critical to surviving a multi-career journey.
Innovation and entrepreneurship is driving the future. Globally there is a demand for a workforce with a sound core knowledge complemented by a breadth of skills; and a culture open to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will become increasingly capable of performing routine tasks and analysis. It is estimated that half of all job-related activities could be automated in 20 years (McKinsey Global Institute, 2018). Many of today's occupations will continue to be part of the future but vastly redefined. The fact is all careers, whether white collar or blue collar, are vulnerable to the risk of disappearing.
As menial, repetitive tasks become automated, we can focus on work that requires innovation, entrepreneurship, social skills, emotional intelligence, complex problem solving and critical thinking. Future opportunities will inevitably be more machine powered and data-driven and will require the human skills of problem solving, communication, interpretation and design. Continuous learning, adaptation, and a mentality of career agility is critical for preparing for a multi-career journey that will span your next 50-plus years after you leave school.
Baker, J. (2019, May 05). 'Big ideas' and digital literacy:education department calls for NSW schools shake-up. Retrieved from smh: https://www.smh.com.au/education/big-ideas-and-digital-literacy-education-department-calls-for-nsw-schools-shake-up-20190503-p51jtl.html
Blake, J. (2016, September). Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2016/09/09/when-to-make-a-career-pivot/
McKinsey Global Institute. (2018, May). mckinsey.com/mgi. Retrieved from McKinsey Global Institute: MGI-Skill-Shift-Automation-and-future-of-the-workforce-May-2018.pdf
White, S. (2018, November 22). Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from www.smh.com: https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/turning-a-side-hustle-into-a-new-career-20180927-p506i5.html
Mrs Rathika Suresh Director of ICT M IT (Education) MBA MA (Ec)
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An Anglican day and boarding school
for girls, Kindergarten to Year 12. Founded in 1856.
26 Albion Street Waverley
NSW 2024 Australia
Telephone +61 2 8305 6200