McCrindle Research reports today’s average school leavers will have 17 employers in 5 industry sectors over their lifetime. Historically, even a generation ago, people remained 10 years in a career, however today’s average tenure is only 3 years and 4 months per job.
The digital age is a major influence but there are others influencers too such as an ageing population. Furthermore, some argue the effects will be felt by more than the youngest generation of workers entering the market, as PwC People Business Managing Partner Jon Williams pointed out in today’s Australian Financial Review.
“The world of business in five years’ time is going to be completely different. The way people go about leading businesses is going to have to change.”
Jon asserts that “it is generally accepted that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will make many jobs obsolete over the next half decade, if not much sooner.” By now, many of you would have seen the compelling video ‘Humans Need Not Apply’ on the future of the world’s workforce. We only need to purchase music or order a taxi to see how some industries have been revolutionised in recent years and jobs displaced. A 2014 report by CBRE stated that 50% of occupations in corporations today will no longer exist by 2025.
Peter Gahan, Director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre For Workplace Leadership, flagged three industry groups who are expected to experience strong growth including aged care, the environment and the technology sector. Indeed, the recent Australian Government’s 5-year employment projections (to November 2019) predict ‘Health Care and Social Assistance’ to be the primary provider of new jobs with forecasted growth of 18.7%, followed by ‘Education and Training’ with growth of 15.6%, ‘Construction’ with growth of 13%, and ‘Professional, Scientific, and Financial Services’ with growth of 14.4%.
‘Manufacturing’ and ‘Mining’ industries are predicted to continue to tumble. And you’d be naive to think ‘white-collar’ and ‘creative’ roles are safe, just consider the automation happening in the legal profession (and others).
Whilst McKinsey credits big data ‘analysts’ as the job in highest demand, others roles are also forecast to hold (and grow) such as health care workers, physical therapists, and software engineers, and new opportunities and careers we’re yet to conceptualise. Some of the most rapidly growing job categories in these various reports are under ‘Other’, that is, not big enough yet to warrant their own line item. Table 1 provides some examples of those occupations projected to grow and decline.
Of course, what remains to be seen is whether the numbers will stack up to, on balance, meet the demand for jobs. And whether we will adapt quickly enough. A 2014 global study by PwC, commissioned by LinkedIn, cautions us to ‘adapt to survive’, encouraging us to proactively manage our careers.
So what will it take to future-proof our careers?
I believe there are 3 top strategies:
- Define your 5-year career strategy based on your values, strengths, skills, and job demand (and be open minded to refine/ change it);
- Commit to continuous learning (including specialty skills, people skills such as leadership, technology skills, and emerging industry trends); and
- Proactively foster your brand and build relationships (on and off-line) including promoting your adaptability and better understanding the current and evolving markets.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.