The future of work
The world of work has never gone through so much change so quickly. So what do you need to know about the future?
Many young people entering the jobs market now find themselves applying for jobs that didn’t exist a few years ago. The world of work is changing, and fast. So what could the future hold? And how do you make sure you’re equipped for this brave new world?
When we look to the future, we can make predictions about the way things will likely change or develop. These are called ‘trends’. There are some trends which have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic; if you’re interested, take a look at the blog post The impact of covid on the world of work.
With some jobs, such as nursing or delivery driving, it’s impossible to perform your role at home. However, in office-based jobs, which might consist of having meetings, making calls, sending emails and completing work on computers, employees can work from home.
It’s been clear for a while that a 40-hour working week in the office does not suit everyone. For example, caregivers, parents, and people with disabilities may prefer the flexibility of working from home.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced companies to adapt to this new way of working. When most switched to online meetings and continued to deliver their work, it became obvious that the demand for flexible work would increase. Post-pandemic, this looks set to continue. Most companies offer remote working to their employees, or so-called ‘hybrid’ working where employees can spend some days in the office and some at home. Often, meetings now have a mixture of real-world and virtual attendees.
Take the time to find out what works best for you. Being in the hustle and bustle of the office, working from home, or a bit of both?
This is another existing trend that was accelerated by the pandemic. E-commerce simply means making payments over the internet, whether on computers, tablets, smartphones, or other smart devices.
There are obvious benefits to online commerce: it makes purchases simpler, faster, and less time-consuming, and allows for 24-hour sales. Online payments can also be personalised to each consumer. E-commerce is set to grow and grow.
So what does this have to do with employment? Well, this will create huge growth in some jobs - such as app and software development, web design, UX, logistics, and packing. For the customer experience to be at its optimum, this requires a huge amount of work behind the scenes! That could be where you come in…
You’ve probably experienced automation yourself, from self-scanning tills at the supermarket to a ‘chatbot’ giving you customer service help on a website. Some industries, such as industrial manufacturing, are set to experience intense automation over the next few years. The Covid-19 pandemic also accelerated automation in less predictable areas. For example using AI and machine learning to process Covid tests in hospitals, and the trialling of fully-automated grocery stores.
It would be easy to view automation as the enemy of work, taking jobs that used to belong to humans. However, it’s important to remember that automation also creates jobs - in tech, robotics, programming and manufacturing, to name a few. It can also help take dangerous or manually exhausting work from humans, allowing us to enter and explore new fields. The key will be making sure you are ‘upskilled’ and ready.
A skills-based economy means a jobs market where candidates are assessed via competency tests (rather like a driving theory test but for IT skills) and awarded qualifications online. Why is there predicted to be this move away from university qualifications and towards online skills testing? Well, partly because of the rapid pace of the tech industry, where new, complex frameworks are constantly being developed.
Plus, most employers nowadays don’t want to miss out on potential talent. They want to attract a diverse pool of applicants to all their jobs and find people with the skills they need to move forward. In digital and tech jobs, these skills should be easy to verify. That’s why platforms such as LinkedIn are partnering with Microsoft to offer tests and training courses as part of a ‘global skills initiative’. If you’re thinking of working in digital, tech, business or design, check out the skills assessments currently on offer.
In the past, people often tended to pursue a ‘linear’ career as the ideal model. That meant working your way up one industry in a straight line, to increasingly senior levels. However, for many young people, this has not been a tenable model, and many are rejecting this outright in favour of more variety and flexibility.
They may have a main job and a ‘side hustle’, where they bring in extra cash or pursue a passion - for example, dog walking, DJing, or upcycling furniture. They may have a main job and flexible work such as food delivery courier in the ‘gig’ economy, where the worker controls the hours they work. Or, they may have seasonal work, and spend some of the year in one role and the rest in another. These can all be called ‘portfolio careers’. You might work in several jobs, try different things, and take a less traditional career path.
Remember, it’s ok to do this
All jobs give you transferable skills and can open up new opportunities and paths. If you’re unsure where to go next check out our Find Your Potential quiz. .