Future-Proof Your Career

Current technological advancements in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology are bringing about an unprecedented rate of change in how we live and work.   Athena’s SIG Associate Group hosted an expert panel who addressed how we can “Future-Proof “our careers in response to these technology trends. Below are some of the key messages from the panel discussion.

Future-Proof Your Career PanelStop underestimating the impact of technology on your job

It’s no secret that keeping up with advances in technology is critical to surviving in the business world – but we seem to consistently underestimate the consequences of technological change when it comes to our own careers.

As entire industries adjust to advancing technologies, most occupations are undergoing a fundamental transformation. While some jobs will be eliminated with technology advancements, existing jobs are also going through a change in the skill sets required to do them.

  • It’s estimated that some 65% of children entering primary schools today will likely work in roles that do not currently exist.
  • Core curriculum content of many academic fields, with nearly 50% of subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree will be outdated by the time students graduate.
  • A large part of the existing subject knowledge of the current workforce will be outdated in just a few years.
  • By 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.

Companies and governments must adapt - but so must you.

While the impending change holds great promise, the patterns of consumption, production and employment created by it also pose major challenges requiring proactive adaptation by corporations, governments and individuals.

Smart companies have corporate road maps that define where they will be in three, five and 10 years, how they're going to get there, and how technology fits into that vision. Do you know how your skills will factor into your company's plans -- or the industry's as a whole?

Future-proof your career by keeping your skills current.

The current technological revolution does not need to become a race between humans and machines.  It could be your opportunity to recognize your full potential.

Businesses and governments know that re-skilling and up-skilling of today’s workers will be critical to prevent a worst-case scenario—technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality.  But don’t count on your company to provide the training you will need to advance your career as technology changes. Chances are, they will be behind the curve. Your career is too important to entrust to a third party.

You need to understand the changes that are underway and be prepared to jump at roles to lead your business and/or community through this transformative time.  Seek out conferences and seminars about how technology will impact your industry, then seek out the training you need to excel in your field.

The ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses and governments to survive. But it is the individuals who seize the opportunities presented by these trends that will thrive.

Technology brings new opportunities for STEM professionals and STEM industries.

Industries such as: Health Care, Renewable Energy, International Trade and Venture Capital Services, etc. will drastically change but will also be able to take advantage of new technology to grow their businesses.

In light of technological trends many countries have undertaken significant efforts to increase the amount of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates produced by their national education systems. But disruptive technological change will have a significant impact on the skills requirements for these jobs, creating a range of opportunities and challenges in all industries.

Many formerly purely technical occupations are expected to show a new demand for creative and interpersonal skills.

Overall, a wide range of occupations will require a higher degree of cognitive abilities—such as creativity, logical reasoning and complex problem solving skills—as part of their core skill set. More than half of all jobs expected to require these cognitive abilities as part of their core skill set in 2020 do not yet do so today, or only to a much smaller extent.

Also becoming more valued will be social skills—such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—which will also be in higher demand across industries that traditionally valued technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.

It is always frightening to change, especially if you have been successful in what you are currently doing. But with the waves of technology that are sweeping across different industries, change is becoming the norm.

Technology WILL change what you do, how much you're paid to do it, and could eliminate your job altogether.

Already advances in mobile and cloud technology allow for remote and instant access. These technologies enable the rapid spread of internet-based service models giving us the means to decentralize our economies as we move from value systems based on ownership to ones enabling access

Our future place of work might not be an open plan office, but interconnected workspaces - not tied to one place, but many. They will be underpinned by virtual conferencing, complete and constant connection and portability.

We already see how the Internet and mass computing power impacts how we work. By 2045, computing power is expected to surpass the equivalent brainpower of all human brains combined.

Just one example: One of the reasons we're seeing massive reductions in employment for lawyers is because software can now more efficiently and cost effectively do the routine document reviews and filings once done by entry-level attorneys. By one estimate, one attorney can now do the work of 500 lawyers.

Embrace technology changes and continue to learn and evolve with it.

As rapidly developing technology changes how your business operates, the history of success that has brought you this far will have little bearing on your future success. Take control of your career and continuously push yourself to learn new skills. This is your opportunity to get ahead of the curve and take the lead.

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