THAT THINK­ING FEEL­ING

Depend­ing on who you be­lieve, new tech­nolo­gies are ei­ther set to make mil­lions of j obs dis­ap­pear, or l ead to the cre­ation of mil­lions of new j obs we can’t even i mag­ine yet. Ei­ther way, Frances Val­in­tine says adapt­abil­ity will be­come the most valu­able

Idealog - - JOBS OF THE FUTURE -

I first heard the term ‘meat-based’ em­ploy­ees around a year ago and at the time I laughed it off. Then I heard it again re­cently.

This time it hit me harder and had me won­der­ing if this is what we’ve come to? Is this a time in his­tory when there are ei­ther bi­o­log­i­cal em­ploy­ees or me­chan­i­cal ones, driven by com­plex soft­ware and with ad­vanced cog­ni­tive pro­cesses?

And then I won­der, what is all the scare­mon­ger­ing about? Un­doubt­edly, there are plenty of jobs be­ing re­placed by de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies, au­to­ma­tion and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, but si­mul­ta­ne­ously we are fac­ing un­prece­dented growth of new ca­reers, and new in­dus­tries that are des­per­ately seek­ing tal­ent.

A re­cent Man­power 2016/17 global tal­ent short­age sur­vey showed 40 per­cent of em­ploy­ers find it dif­fi­cult to find skilled tal­ent for open va­can­cies. This rep­re­sents the high­est global tal­ent short­age in ten years. The dif­fer­ence to­day is this short­age is not lim­ited to spe­cific in­dus­try pock­ets, as al­most ev­ery sec­tor is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the frus­tra­tion of find­ing spe­cial­ist ca­pa­bil­ity.

In fact, many of these tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances are es­tab­lish­ing them­selves in the form of ag­gres­sive star­tups that are built on tech­nol­ogy plat­forms and new think­ing and rep­re­sent new worlds of op­por­tu­nity.

From my place across the ta­ble con­sult­ing to large New Zealand busi­nesses and Boards of Di­rec­tors I see two dis­tinct re­sponses, one that breeds suc­cess and one that dis­plays a re­sis­tance to change.

The first group re­sponds at rapid pace to the calls from in­vestors and share­hold­ers to cut costs and de­crease head-count in fear of fall­ing mar­gins, di­min­ish­ing re­turns and in­creased com­pe­ti­tion. This re­sponse is com­mon with or­gan­i­sa­tions in me­dia, fi­nance, tel­cos, pro­fes­sional ser­vices, con­struc­tion and lo­gis­tics.

The se­cond re­sponse is to lean-in and form brave new ini­tia­tives, to con­sider part­ner­ships or look at merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions that recog­nise the rapid need for change and ad­vance­ment. These busi­nesses see progress as a ben­e­fit and they are highly re­spon­sive to seed­ing a mul­ti­tude of new op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness growth and mar­ket gain.

These com­pa­nies are acutely aware that their trusted rev­enue ‘cash-cows’ seek to serve only a de­creas­ing legacy mar­ket, and a new or­gan­i­sa­tional Plan B needs to be re­sourced and sup­ported to cre­ate new rev­enue streams through scal­ing to new mar­kets and new cus­tomers. They un­der­stand that these new ini­tia­tives op­er­ate un­der fresh new busi­ness mod­els that pro­vide leaner, more ag­ile mar­ket re­sponses and max­imise new knowl­edge and ca­pa­bil­ity.

These break-through busi­nesses adopt greater di­ver­sity of thoughts, more con­tem­po­rary skills, and have a greater fo­cus on the de­vel­op­ment of al­go­rithms and au­to­mated soft­ware sup­ported by the gath­er­ing of valu­able data.

So clearly the so­lu­tion to mass dis­rup­tion and re­main­ing rel­e­vant is the de­ploy­ment of new think­ing, smart tal­ent and busi­ness brav­ery. There­fore it comes as a mys­tery to me how many busi­nesses still op­er­ate on the ba­sis that con­tin­u­ing the same way they have al­ways done, with the ex­pec­ta­tion it will de­liver a bet­ter out­come, still gets ap­proval at the board­room ta­ble.

And it’s not just about busi­ness. Now, more than ever is the time to look at the value each and ev­ery one of us brings to the work­place. With the pro­lif­er­a­tion of free on­line cour­ses, flex­i­ble or work-based pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, and badged on­line qual­i­fi­ca­tions, the lat­est in­tel­li­gence, knowl­edge and in­sight is at our fin­ger­tips.

Whether peo­ple ac­cept their need for new skills and knowl­edge can only be de­ter­mined by their own ac­cep­tance that the world has moved on and legacy and ex­pe­ri­ence is no longer the foun­da­tion of em­ploy­ment cer­tainty.

We need to put per­spec­tive into our de­ci­sion mak­ing and fo­cus our as­sump­tions on where our fu­ture earn­ing po­ten­tial will be found.

I of­ten watch the words of a mil­lion ex­cuses flow from pro­fes­sion­als as they claim they have of ‘no time’ and ‘no money’ to jus­tify the lack of com­mit­ment to learn­ing and de­vel­op­ing new skills.

My stan­dard re­ply hits hard and cuts to the chase. I merely re­flect that an in­di­vid­ual's fu­ture earn­ing po­ten­tial in to­day’s dig­i­tal world is con­nected to our con­tem­po­rary knowl­edge and the in­te­gra­tion of new skills and prac­tices in our ca­reers.

To me an in­vest­ment in ex­er­cis­ing our brain, the very in­stru­ment that makes us our liveli­hood, seems like a bet­ter in­vest­ment than a new car or a pretty new drive­way.

But un­like other life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that you can buy, the abil­ity to learn, to be­come open­minded, or to ex­tend your hori­zons to be more adapt­able can not be bought. This a per­sonal jour­ney that can’t be plugged and down­loaded, it can not be traded or shared.

In this on you are on your own, but the re­wards are there to be un­locked and har­nessed.

Un­doubt­edly, there are plenty of j obs be­ing re­placed by de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies, au­to­ma­tion and ar­ti­fi­cial i ntel­li­gence, but si­mul­ta­ne­ously we are fac­ing un­prece­dented growth of new ca­reers, and new i ndus­tries that are des­per­ately seek­ing tal­ent.

Frances Val­in­tine is founder and chair­per­son of The Mind Lab by Unitec, a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship which aims to ed­u­cate chil­dren and teach­ers about dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. In Jan­uary 2016 she founded Tech Fu­tures Lab, a tech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme aimed at busi­ness lead­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.