Few would argue against the concept that computers, technology, and the web are changing the modern world. However, with the tremendous leaps and bounds made in recent years in tech, many industry analysts now suggest we may currently be in the throes of a fourth industrial revolution (often referred to as Industry 4.0). From Charlotte to San Francisco, the modern jobs market is transforming rapidly.
With tech now playing an increasingly important role in both our work and social lives, there is little doubt that the employment landscape is changing rapidly. Computers now form the backbone of the operations of most firms in everything from communications to client databases and spreadsheets and are helping streamline companies the world over.
However, while tech is undoubtedly enhancing and improving the workplace, the recent advances in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are leading to many previously secure careers becoming obsolete and redundant – giving rise to the new phenomenon of the so-called “pointless job”.
How tech is expected to force career changes
Where once it was perfectly reasonable for employees to expect to spend their entire career in the same role (or even with the same company), employment experts now suggest the typical worker of today should expect to change position and employer multiple times through their working lives. As you might expect, this trend is forecast to continue to rise in the future as more and more jobs get replaced by automation and machines.
A perfect storm – made even worse by the coronavirus pandemic
We are living in extremely uncertain times when it comes to work and finding a role that will provide security both now and in the future. Indeed, the recent coronavirus pandemic exposed just how insecure many jobs were as firms came to rely more and more on tech to function – therefore showing that many employees were superfluous to requirements.
The World Economic Forum estimates that, globally, around 114 million people lost their jobs through 2020 as a result of the virus, and, even as the world now slowly emerges from the worst of COVID-19, it’s expected the financial implications of lockdowns and furlough payments are yet to properly bite.
As most financial forecasters suggest, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to companies struggling to get back on their feet – with many predicting we will still see further job losses in the months and years to come as part of the fall-out from coronavirus.
Improving job security in an increasingly insecure employment market
While it is likely that employees in the future will need to take a more flexible approach to work and be more willing to change roles, there are still some ways you can help guarantee you find a job with lasting security while also improving your employment options:
Choose a job known for its job security: It should go without saying, but choosing a job that is unlikely to be replaced by tech and that will always be in demand is probably the best way to improve your chances of employment in the future. For example, while tech is changing how the police work and enhancing their investigative capabilities, we’re still a long way off from a time when police officers are likely to be replaced by robots. Studying a BA in policing (on or offline) could offer a fast track to a lifelong, secure job. Plus, working in the police force offers a structured career to climb, which could mean greater responsibilities and higher wages as you work your way up.
Education and training: Sure, you’ll maybe have studied a formal qualification at college or university before starting work, but one of the best ways to stand out and make employers notice you is by having additional, relevant qualifications or training. These days, it’s easier than ever to study in your own time at a pace (and place) that suits you by enrolling in online courses. Extra knowledge and additional skills will make you more valuable from an employer’s perspective – plus equip you better for sideways career changes should you need to find new work.
Have a good working knowledge of computers: Computers and the web are revolutionizing the modern workplace – to the point that it’s hard to think of a job that doesn’t involve tech to at least some degree. Having at least basic computer skills (or better if you can manage) will almost definitely be an asset in the future.
Work on your communication skills: Unless you intend to start a one-man-band venture alone, pretty much any job you end up doing will involve working with other people. Being able to communicate well and articulate your ideas or instructions is a key component of teamwork and will help you stand out as a diligent and professional employee.
Improve your team working skills: Being a good communicator is one thing, but you should also work on your ability to work with other people towards a common goal. Teamwork can be a tremendously rewarding experience when it goes well – but it can also end up draining if you don’t approach it right. Learning to take instruction, pass on ideas, and work productively as part of a larger group will help you progress in your career – and also improve your standing with your employer.
Work on your organizational skills and ability to stay focused: For some, being organized at work and staying focused on the task at hand comes naturally – but for many others, the working day can end up rather haphazard with little direction. By improving your organizational skills, you’ll find you’ll save time (for example, by not having to hunt around for tools or important documents) while also helping you make more from your time at work. Likewise, learning to have a laser-like focus on tasks will mean you’ll be more productive and end up completing projects or duties much quicker. All these things will get noticed by both your fellow employees and your boss(es).