With the recent uptake in AI advancement, and its effect on a modernized workplace, the workforce must learn new skills and competencies that are required for new and/or changing jobs.
In its Future of Jobs Report 2020, the World Economic Forum estimates that 85 million jobs will be displaced by AI while 97 million new jobs will be created across 26 countries by 2025. These new jobs will no doubt require adjustments and a learning curve across industries, but the evolution of jobs is critical to individuals and employers alike.
The clear message? The future of job security is flexibility. And upskilling.
Upskilling Means Leveling Up To Keep Up
Upskilling refers to the acquiring of new skills or the enhancing of existing ones to keep up with the changes in job roles, technology, industry trends, and overall professional development.
It’s a strategic approach that organizations and employees take to ensure that individuals have the necessary skills to perform effectively in their current roles and adapt to evolving demands. Upskilling could be something as simple as learning to type faster or more efficiently. It could also be taking a coding workshop, or enrolling in virtual course platforms to learn new skills.
Adding value to your job skills, whether they be soft skills or hard skills, only ensures personal job security. Yes, foundational skills are what every employer looks for, and there’s broader expertise that you need when applying for a position, but that flexibility—that’s where you talk about stackable credentials.
The Path To Career Flexibility
Where does flexibility start? By adding abilities. I started off as an electrical engineer, then I shifted to business, then I shifted to nonprofits, all the while gaining extensive international expertise. Finally, I added the education piece with my doctorate. So now I’ve got all five of these hats that I can wear! I’m flexible.
I treasure my role at IPC, and one big reason I love what I do is the juxtaposition of all five major areas of expertise that I’ve built up through my career.
But, when it’s time to find someone to replace me—how many people wear all five of those hats?
If you come into a job and you say: I can work with software, I know how to work with hardware, I also have experience in business—oh, and I can do project management, suddenly people will be thinking, “Wow, this person’s indispensable! They can thrive in all those areas—and in the cross-section of those areas.”
The Future of Job Security Is Flexibility
This isn’t new. But now, looking at it from an employer’s perspective, I think there is a belief out there that you need to find someone for a position who has very high levels of specific expertise. They need to focus on one area. They need to specialize.
While that may be valuable, your hires need to be flexible to be future proof.
Over the years, I’ve worked in many places that required hiring engineers. We would seek the best and the brightest young graduates. But we knew whomever we hired would probably need a year or two (more often two) to fully learn what it takes to be an engineer beyond book smarts. What I sought were flexible learners. Lifelong learners. Passionate learners.
In today’s ever-changing workforce, and with the introduction of AI, upskilling is increasingly required. As an employer, you need to ensure that is offered. There are people who want to learn new skills, and today’s employee, in turn, needs to be someone who is willing to continue to learn.
People need to be willing to evolve their capabilities. And they need the kind of mindset that is looking to be indispensable. They need to be flexible—and understand that today’s modern workforce is changing daily, it seems.
And those flexible will be the ones who thrive in this brave, exciting new world.