Onrec logo The Online Recruitment Resource

How the Changing World Transforms Our Careers

As technology advances, we’re increasingly finding our jobs outsourced and augmented by AI.

With no more ‘jobs for life’ and more importance being placed on the individual solutions that we offer, we take a look at how the world has evolved to this point, and how we’re making this new way of working, work to our advantage says Steve McGerr, Head of Direct Commercial, Hiscox UK.

In the past 25 years, the world of work has undergone cataclysmic change: battered by turbulent economies, momentous advances in technology, shifting governmental policies and globalisation. To no great surprise, it has emerged a different beast — irrevocably transformed.

But while many traditional jobs, companies and industries have fallen foul of the changing landscape — new economies, businesses and workforces have appeared. The evolution of job titles, from Project Manager to Scrum Master, is proof of this mutating world.

But more has changed than just the types of jobs we can expect to be offered. Our entire way of working has been reimagined. Gone is the need for desks, punching-in cards and long-term contracts. The modern worker must be flexible, on-demand and able to work remotely.

So how, in this ever-changing sea of expectations, have business and individuals adapted to survive?

It’s an entrepreneur’s world

Once upon a time, the job title of Founder, Director and President was a rare and elite moniker, but since the financial crisis of 2008, we’ve seen a rapid increase in entrepreneurial activity[i]. Now 76%[ii] of people[iii] would consider starting their own business a good career move, with many aspiring to this ‘higher status’ role.

It’s easy to understand how – in a recession environment where job opportunities were hit hard — people began to rely on their own entrepreneurial drive to make a living. And through lucky accident, it occurred at a time when starting a business was more accessible and achievable than ever.

The growth of the online marketplace and the technological advancements of the 21st century have made it cheaper and easier to set up a business, sell services and access new markets than ever before. Plus, with funding opportunities that allow you to appeal directly to investors (like peer-to-peer lending), and tax breaks for small business owners and investors, aspiring entrepreneurs have more avenues to raise funds.

We’re all one-in-a-million

With so many online, mobile and on-demand services, a huge labour force is necessary to maintain them. Cue the gig worker, who — as a Video Producer, Interpreter, or Takeaway Driver, for example — makes their living off short-term positions.

Comparisons could be drawn with the ‘odd job’ market that older generations would recognise. A stark difference, however, exists in the demographic that is accepting this kind of position. Half of all crowd workers in the UK are under 35 years old[v], and 34% of gig workers are aged 16-30[iv].

It is the internet which has made this kind of employment possible, with many workers creating a fulltime patchwork of employment from the gigs they can find.

Becoming your own boss

After the financial crash, even the largest corporations were tightening their belts and adopting money saving measures. Permanent workforces were slashed to their bare bones, core competencies were kept in-house and extra work was outsourced to freelancers, contractors, service workers and sole traders. Now, one in seven of the employed population are classified as ‘self-employed’.

Consultants – particularly in the digital landscape — have found this a lucrative environment. As technological progression outpaces the ability of business entities to modernise, the demand for external individuals providing niche expertise has grown considerably.

And as the market has become more competitive, the struggle to stand out from the crowd has also intensified. Now many specialist freelancers determine their own job titles. Encountering an SEO Guru, Digital Overlord or Social Media Ninja is par for the course when hiring for tech positions. Just as their names are unique, their skill-sets often exhibit a remarkable, and necessary, diversity. 

Portfolio careers

Nowadays, broad skillsets are increasingly valued as cookie cutter careers become a thing of the past. The average job stint is just 4.5 years [viii] and to achieve the progression and commensurate wage increase expected from many careers, workers must go through multiple job changes.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the “ability to learn and progress” is ranked as millennials’ number one concern[ix] and many workers have developed what is known as a ‘portfolio career’ in response to this environment. Positions are chosen according to how it will enrich their skillset, experiences and, ultimately, resume. Job decisions are made mindful of how the position will help them advance to the next role, and risk is spread across different career options.

Being better than the robots

Considering how often people now expect to change their job throughout their life, the likelihood of engaging in the same work you initially trained or studied for is low. And given the fast-paced nature of so many careers – particularly technology – many skillsets require re-training every 12-18 months. Technology is making our jobs redundant faster than ever before.

Although AI may be taking over low-skill routine jobs, it is through the human touch that we continue to win-out. Emerging advice recommends that job-seekers work on developing their ‘soft skills’ — creativity, problem solving, networking and negotiation — to consolidate their place in the workforce. However much AI capability enhances, it is these person-to-person abilities that will keep industries going.

In the space of a single generation the landscape of the jobs we do has become almost unrecognisable. Career paths have been eradicated, revived and recreated at a stunning rate. But despite an unpredictable market, workers continue to react, adapt and thrive.

 Full article is here