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Want to survive the future of work? Learn the new three R's

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The three Rs. ... That we're all familiar with (as in the letter R) are basic skills taught in schools: reading, writing and arithmetic. However, to be ready for the future of work we need to learn a new set of Three R’s: retrain, relearn and reskill….

Here's why:

Recently you can’t escape the discussion on the future of work for many countries and organisations it’s the major challenge of our time. However, when we hear about the future of work, in the media one of the first things people worry about is the security of jobs. With images of a legion of robots taking over jobs from the factory floor to the corporate office widely being seen as the most likely future scenarios.

A 2018 study by the Mckinsey Global institute estimates 800 million jobs are expected to be lost by 2030 due to automation and robotic labor, according to the study jobs such as, data processing, customer call centre operatives and even highly paid white-collar jobs will be disrupted.

Indeed, with the rapid development in technology and automation moving as fast as it is and AI beginning to take over certain tasks that were once completed by workers, it’s a natural fear to have.

There are plenty of statistics pointing towards more automation in the workplace over time. Overall, not only will jobs be lost due to automation but what people do will shift as jobs get redesigned.

Rapid Change:

The shift is already taking place with companies already reskilling staff for digital transformation. Banks such as DBS for example, have created and redesigned 500 customer contact centre roles to ensure current employees are not made obsolete and are well skilled to take on the jobs of the future.  

As a professional, have you been paying attention to the changes happening in your workplace and how they are affecting you? How has your role evolved over the past five years? Do you consider yourself skilled for the jobs of the future? Do you even know what those jobs might be?

Don’t worry if you can’t answer yes to all the questions above, we at half the sky believe the three R’s tool kit can assist you to navigate this complex and fast changing time, for the future of work.

Here are three Rs… for effectively managing, navigating and staying employed in the workforce of tomorrow.

Retrain:  to stay employable.

In a world where technology advances are measured in months, not years, companies selling everything from computers and magazines to cereal and clothes are trying desperately to adapt.

The same must go for workers as digital disruption and automation make many jobs obsolete.

“Imagine you are a mid-career professional landing a new job only to discover that tasks that previously took you hours to complete can now be done in a matter of minutes by machines. This is already happening; financial services giant JPMorgan began using software that interprets commercial-loan agreements so efficiently that it essentially does — in seconds — what lawyers took nearly 360,000 hours to do each year”.

For women the need to retrain is critical, as they have historically occupied many administrative support or customer service roles that are most likely to witness job automation within 5-10 years - it is essential to retrain to keep oneself employable.

Although companies have a role to play in providing retraining opportunities it really is the individuals personal responsibility to future proof their career. 

Reskill: for the future of work

It goes without saying the types of skills companies require in the future will shift, and they will most likely be dramatically different from the skills required today, with profound implications for the career paths individuals will need to pursue. Reskilling is shaping up to be an imperative—and perhaps the imperative—of the next decade for companies and society.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) stated in a recent report, that at least 54% of all employees will need reskilling and upskilling by 2022. Yet only 30% of employees at risk of job displacement from technological changes received reskilling in the past year, and those most at risk are often the ones who are least likely to receive any reskilling at all.

Reskill now don't wait, the pace of change is happening so fast it is important to pick up skills continuously. Also you will be suprised that the skills needed are not just about hard technical skills but are predominately soft skills.

World Economic Forum reports that you need these ten skills listed below to thrive in 2020:

  1. Complex problem solving.
  2. Critical thinking.
  3. Creativity.
  4. People management.
  5. Coordinating with others.
  6. Emotional intelligence.
  7. Judgement and decision making.
  8. Service orientation.
  9. Negotiation.
  10. Cognitive flexibility.

Just remember skills have become like mobile apps that need frequent upgrades hence you will also need to.....

Relearn: to stay continuously competitive in the future of work.

As the concept of lifelong jobs and “company men / women” are no more, continuous learning is key. Education is never finished whether its formal or on the job, it’s essential that individuals and institutions adapt to this new reality.

A mindset of learning, unlearning and relearning new skills is critical for the future of work. However, this is probably the most difficult skill to learn as it takes a large amount of courage. Especially for seasoned professionals who will need to unlearn’ most of what they have spent a lifetime developing.

However, the ability to be adaptable, agile and open to change will be essential to ride the wave of transformation, that is upon us.

Concluding Thoughts

Nobody knows for sure what tomorrow will bring but the trends are there for everybody to see – and yes there will be significant disruption of jobs but there will also be the creation of many new jobs and possibilities. The three R's we have described: retraining, reskilling and relearning will be critical tools to navigate the disruption ahead.

As women we have to be ready to seize the opportunities that the future of work will bring. Far too often we have been invisible from discussions, stories, and policies around the future of work - despite the outsize risk job automation poses.

Are we ready?

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About half the sky
 

half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.

Sign up to get career tips and job alerts directly to your inbox! Join us to shape the future of women at work together!

 

 

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