The world is in a state of revolution. I’m not talking about political revolution—although some believe that is happening, too. It’s a technological revolution. Nearly every time I turn on the TV, listen to a podcast, or tap on a YouTube channel, I feel like I’m hearing about a technology that will change the world as we know it, and the kind of jobs my clients will find.
Whether you are in school now, or are in mid-career and plan to work another 10, 15, or 20 years, your skills could be obsolete if you don’t respond to change.
Here are just a few of the stories I’ve seen on TV and online in June of 2021 that could change the world of work in the coming decade:
- United Airlines agreed to order a fleet of supersonic passenger jets from Boom Supersonic for delivery in 2029,
- SpaceX is advertising hundreds of jobs to be filled mainly at a facility in Boca Chica, TX where the Company is building and testing spacecraft that may go to the planet Mars within the decade, and
- The COVID19 vaccine, developed in less than one year, uses new technology which creates “infinite possibilities” to treat or cure many other diseases.
You don’t have to be an aerospace engineer or doctor for rapid technological change to impact your work. For example, development of economically viable supersonic air travel for the Pacific Rim, as well as the transatlantic market will redefine the travel industry. And practical point-to-point travel by spacecraft between major cities—a potential spin-off from the Mars program–could redefine the travel industry even further. Think about the customer service, logistics, marketing and myriad other kinds of jobs that will be created or redefined.
Of course, seemingly great technologies could fail in the marketplace, or simply not work. Other technologies and businesses will succeed, and change what we do at work. Regardless, the three stories above were not created by science fiction writers. They are not the musings of futurists that aren’t making anything. All three are about world-changing projects that are happening now.
Our skill level will have to keep up with change.
We won’t all need to be tech or medical gurus to have work in 2030, but our skills will have to be stronger than ever. Already, more than 3 of 10 jobs in the US economy were estimated to require college degrees in 2020, according to a Georgetown University Report. And those jobs that traditionally do not require college degrees may still require an unheard of level of technical skill. For example, a car mechanic may have to troubleshoot computers, or update their software. A story on the July 6, 2021 CBS This Morning broadcast referred to the cars of today as “rolling computers” with “hundreds of microchips.” It’s not enough anymore for a mechanic to know tasks such as how to gap spark plugs or replace an alternator anymore.
Employment specialists call the skills needed to build and repair things “hard skills.” Another class of skills are so-called “soft skills.” Generally, soft skills, also referred to as leadership skills, are the skills we all use to interact with each other, such as team building, working in harmony with co-workers, critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving.
The kind of soft skills workers need may not be changing as dramatically as hard skills. Arguably, soft skills will need to be stronger than ever though. The workforce is becoming more diverse so, increasingly, workers will have to be more adept at communicating with people from vastly different backgrounds. This was once true mainly for those of us in international business. Now, nearly everyone has to work with brilliant people with whom they have little in common…
Job search and talent search will change, too.
Job search changed forever with the advent of the Monster Board, now known as Monster.com around 1995, and social media such as LinkedIn a decade later. Employers once received less than 50 applications on paper for each job. Now they may receive 250 or more applications electronically. (I interviewed for a job that 298 candidates applied for in 2013.)
Within 10 years, some experts believe applicants may not have to apply for jobs at all—employers will search social media and other online sources for qualified candidates. According to PwC’s Workforce of the Future report artificial and augmented intelligence technologies could largely take over talent search by 2030. In fact, recruiters are already searching LinkedIn using the site’s AI algorithms, for candidates rather than waiting for resumes to arrive…
Job titles will disappear while new job titles will emerge.
New and unforeseen job titles and categories of work have emerged in the last 30 years. No web designers existed when the World Wide Web was created in 1989. According to “A Dive Into the Ocean of Web Design Statistics”, there were 23 million US web designers in 2018.
Whole categories of jobs have disappeared, too. My father’s original job title, Marine Radiotelegraphic Operator, officially disappeared in 1999 when the Coast Guard no longer required that oceangoing ships carry radio operators. My father used his transferrable skills to operate computers and supervise computer-room staff for much of his career.
It took nearly 40 years from the time that the first communications satellites went into service for radiotelegraph jobs to disappear. On the other hand, it took less than 10 years for the field of web design to emerge after the first web sites went online around 1989. Change occurs even faster now so we have to use our transferrable skills to prepare for rapid transformations.
Follow your passion while avoiding obsolescence.
The technology revolution does not mean you have to give up your passion or your dreams. For example, according to a recent YouTube interview, a young woman that loved quilting, and loved the Space Shuttle program found a job quilting thermal blankets that the spacecraft required for its safe return to earth.
So, do not despair if your passion has nothing to do with emerging technologies. There will still be a place for you.
Rapid change in the job market and the kinds of jobs that are available is not new. It has happened before, and will most likely happen again within the decade.
Will resumes, job search letters, and LinkedIn profiles be needed in the latest iteration of the new economy? We think they will be, so contact us today to discuss your specific needs.