How to Prepare for Jobs of the Future

by Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland

Currently it’s hard to predict which of our existing jobs will change, which ones will become obsolete and which jobs will be created. It’s safe to say that the majority of jobs people work in today are those which have developed and changed over the last decade.

Rapid changes in technology, the increase in globalisation and international mobility along with the ever changing patterns in consumer behaviour all play a role in changing the world of work.

While there is not a crystal ball to show us these future jobs to prepare for, I believe there are steps you can take to be prepared for the future world of work and ensure your skills remain relevant and in-demand

1 Focus on your soft skills

While sought-after technical expertise will continue to evolve, certain soft skills will remain a constant prerequisite for most jobs in the future. Why? Because these are the human skills that can’t be imitated by technology, such as the ability to connect with people and form professional relationships, a willingness to learn, and respect for the ideas of others.

Being aware of the core soft skills employers will require in the future, and developing these job-ready skills now, will help you stand out in the job market. In turn, these soft skills will help you keep your digital literacy and relevant technical skills up to date – also essential in the future of work.

2 Be adaptable and inquisitive

To do this, you need to stay on top of current trends and changes relevant to your profession. Technology is advancing at a faster rate than our skills. The subsequent technical skills gaps have created demand for highly skilled professionals and this trend will intensify in the years ahead.

Keep on top of current trends and changes relevant to your profession by reading reports, journals and news articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, attending networking functions and seminars, and participating in online discussions. In short, keep your eyes open for new trends that will lead to skill or knowledge gaps.

Next, take action to upskill, be it via formal courses, self-teaching outside of the workplace or on-the-job learning. One way to future-proof yourself is to become a subject-matter expert in a skillset that’s in emerging demand.

To a large extent, you will learn the most from ‘doing the doing’, so say yes to new opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone, and don’t silo yourself. Be as adaptable and widely employable as possible.

I would also urge you to consider how forward-thinking your employer is. Are they innovative, pioneering and consistently bridging their skills gaps? Do they upskill their staff in line with technological advancements, helping you to ensure your skills stay relevant?

Having said this, for the most part, it is your responsibility to ensure your skills are up to date – don’t expect an employer to do this for you.

3 Increase your knowledge of different cultures

International mobility is on the rise, a trend being facilitated by advances in technology. As such, more employers are video-interviewing skilled workers who plan to move overseas while also searching internationally for skills in short supply domestically.

Organisations in the future, therefore, will be looking for employees who can quickly adapt to new cultures and integrate well in a foreign environment.

As part of your upskilling, become a ‘global citizen’. Increase your cultural intelligence and open your mind to the increasing number of overseas opportunities. Be willing to take a leap of faith when one of these opportunities becomes available.

The ‘jobs of the future’, and the exact skills required to perform these jobs, are constantly changing. One thing you can be certain of, however, is that you will need to develop an adaptable and inquisitive attitude if you want to remain employable.

After all, disruption in the world of work is indiscriminate and inevitable, and everybody, no matter what your job title, must be prepared to adapt to stay relevant.