From education to employment

Getting ready for the future of work

Zoë Morris, President, Frank Recruitment Group

The world of work is changing. With the advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, not to mention the looming shadow of the Metaverse somewhere not too far in the distance, many traditional jobs roles are becoming obsolete. Not just that, but the last two years have seen an entire generation shift their perspective on professional life.

While the pandemic was a stressful time for many, it also allowed others the chance to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Did their work matter? And if not, did it at least allow them to spend time on the things that do? Remote and hybrid work offers the potential of a far better work-life balance and achieving a far better sense of wellbeing—and while we all look forward to embracing familiar parts of the past, there’s little doubt that there’s plenty we’re also willing to change.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that over half of UK workers would consider resigning if they could work from home full-time elsewhere, and 43% of employees admit they would leave their job if their company didn’t offer flexible working. With 26% of employees suggesting that a lack of work/life balance was their main motivation for wanting to leave their job, it’s safe to say that a better work-life balance is the aim for a huge section of the UK’s workforce.

How things will look in the next decade

Looking into the future, the first step is to understand what kinds of job roles will be in demand in the years to come. The ONS has predicted that, by 2030, there will be a need for an additional two million jobs in health and social care, as well as an extra one million jobs in construction. There will also be a demand for 800,000 new jobs in education, and 600,000 new jobs in professional and scientific services.

However, rumbling in the background to that is the tech industry, which is already in the midst of a critical skills shortage, a gap that is only going to get worse as the above industries rely more and more on digital infrastructure to survive. Even a sector as traditional as construction is now heavily reliant on tech—behind those sites filled with workers erecting great buildings, are complex software programs that can estimate every aspect of multi-million-pound projects, collate vital health and safety data, or simply automate tasks that help companies run more efficiently in the background.

No matter the industry you may see your future in, there’s a strong chance that there’ll be an avalanche of tech roles available to support it. Not just that, but it’s a sector that has traditionally offered remote opportunities, too.

How to future-proof your career

So what skills will you need to get these jobs of the future? In the last few years, there has undoubtedly been a shift towards roles that require higher levels of skills and training. So, in order to stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to invest in your own development and upskill regularly. That’s not just about the technical aspect of learning, either—having a mindset where you’re willing to adapt and change is just as vital.

Ultimately, there’s no getting away from the fact that further education is desirable to many prospective employer. Beyond just the competencies you’ll learn in a classroom, lab or workshop, it shows a willingness to dedicate a large chunk of your time to learning and picking up soft skills that can often be priceless. However, you can also continue that path beyond college or university. Whether that’s taking online courses, attending seminars or workshop, or simply reading up on industry news and trends, keeping yourself informed is the best way to ensure you’re prepared for whatever the future of work might hold. For example, the tech skills needed today won’t necessarily be the ones we need in five years’ time—the Metaverse could transform the way we use the internet completely, and the skills needed for that could also change with it.

However, it’s also the perfect metaphor for anyone that wants to stay ahead of the curve. The future of work isn’t just about knowing the trends that are around the corner, but being able to adapt to them and invest the time needed to get up to speed.

By Zoë Morris, President, Frank Recruitment Group

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