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How to prepare for jobs that don’t exist yet

By David Crawley

A hiring expert provides seven tips for surviving the inevitable disruptions of today’s – and tomorrow’s – working world.

While technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are altering existing roles and creating new jobs, there ways to help you prepare for the jobs of the future and safeguard your employability.  

While it’s not currently obvious what these jobs will be, you can prepare using these techniques:

1. Hone ‘soft’ skills

While sought-after technical expertise will continue to evolve, certain soft skills will remain a prerequisite in the future. Why? Because these are the human skills that can’t be imitated by technology, such as the ability to connect with people and form professional relationships.

2. Stay curious and willing to learn

Keep on top of the trends and changes relevant to your profession by reading reports, journals and news articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, attending networking functions and seminars and participating in online discussions. With technology advancing at a faster rate than our skills, demand for professionals with the technical expertise needed to fill the gaps will grow. Be aware of where these skill gaps are emerging.

3. Upskill, constantly

Once you identify skill gaps, take action to upskill. Agree to opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone, and don’t silo yourself. Be as adaptable and widely employable as possible.

4. Advance your digital literacy

Intelligent assistants are just one example of why you must be digitally literate. They are moving from our personal lives (such as when we speak into a device and ask it to play a song or add an item to a shopping list) to the workplace and they will help us process large amounts of data to provide information to allow us to make better decisions.

5. Work for an innovative employer

Consider how forward-thinking your current employer is. Ask yourself if it is it innovative and pioneering with the latest technology and consistently bridging its skills gaps. If not, it might be time to look elsewhere for an employer that is adapting to the times.

6. Adapt to flexible work practices

Employers are creating flexible headcounts by adding temporary and contract employees. Professional interim candidates with high levels of skills and experience are filling even the most specialist roles, so be open to the rising popularity of this form of employment and consider temporary assignments in your next job search.

7. Develop cultural intelligence

International mobility is on the rise, which is a trend being facilitated by technology advances. So, too, are globalised workforces. Make sure you can quickly adapt to new cultures, increase your cultural intelligence and open your mind to overseas opportunities.

Disruption in the world of work is indiscriminate and inevitable and everybody, no matter what their job title, must be prepared to adapt to stay relevant.

David Crawley is Regional Director of Hays Accountancy and Finance.

This article was originally published in Acuity.