My Job of tomorrow

Ever heard of the Digital Estate Manager, the Personal Design Coach or the Digital Curator? Not? No wonder, because these job profiles do not exist yet. And while those professions may never emerge as such, the skills they would presumably call for will definitely be needed in any case. Does that seem fanciful? Not at all. Who could have imagined, just a few years ago, that companies would soon be looking desperately for social media managers or cloud architects?

 

With ever-increasing speed, the digital age is changing the way of living and working, and thereby forcing us to acquire new skills. And to keep on learning. When considering the future workplace and its demands, companies, unions, job-market experts and policymakers all agree that employees who wish to stay competitive and marketable in the job market will need to engage in lifelong learning. So it is about taking your own employability into your own hands.

 

NOT YET INVENTED: THE JOBS OF TOMORROW

Many, many things are changing. What jobs will go? What jobs will stay? What lies ahead? What the jobs of tomorrow will look like remains to be seen. Technological change is keeping the workplace and the associated requirements constantly on the move. World Economic Forum experts believe that the jobs that today's elementary school students will one day hold haven't even been "invented" yet. New technologies are leading to unimagined customer needs and novel business models, which in turn create new jobs.

Therefore, established companies, whose business models are under pressure due to technological change, must act. An example: The head of the American telecommunications company AT&T, Randall Stephenson, has ordered his group the ambitious program "Workforce 2020". An internal analysis conducted by that former monopoly found that about half of the corporation's 280,000 employees would not be able, with their existing roles and skills, to help the corporation transform and introduce successful digital business models. Stephenson and John Donovan, AT&T's chief strategy officer, are well aware that one cannot obtain a suitably skilled workforce on that scale simply by turning to the job market. For this reason, the corporation has completely revamped its skill- and talent-management programs. To prepare its workforce for the new technologies ahead, it is relying on an entire suite of revised or new training tools, performance assessments, performance expectations and remuneration plans. The overall goal is a mighty one: Each and every employee needs to reinvent himself or herself, just as the company is going to reinvent itself.

 

Curiousity for something new

Job-market experts at the business consultancy Deloitte see the AT&T initiative as a blueprint strategy that established technology companies can follow in order to compete with "digital native" companies such as Amazon and Google. Deloitte's experts found that some 40 percent of all CEOs of major corporations complain about not being able to find people, in the job market, with the talents and competences needed for relevant new tasks. The key to meet the demand, so the CEOs, consists of ongoing internal training programs, along with efforts to encourage employees' own drive and curiosity about things new.

 

Jobs go and jobs come

An issue that comes up again and again in the context of the future workplace is whether digitalization, and the automation it will bring, will leave enough jobs for everyone.  A number of studies carried out around the world have lent weight to such concerns. The study cited most often in this vein, perhaps, is one carried out by researchers Michael A. Osborne and Carl Frey. The two authors paint a dark picture in which 47 percent of all jobs in the U.S. are at risk of being lost to smart robots and algorithms. Illek sees no reason for such pessimism (as it happens, Frey and Osborne themselves view all the buzz over their prediction as "exaggerated"). "No one can know today what the sum total of all jobs – taking account of the jobs that will disappear and the jobs that will emerge – will look like. Trying to predict it is like looking into a crystal ball; it's not something that can be mathematically predicted in any sound way," notes Illek (who has a science background). He adds, "the only sure thing is that some jobs will disappear and new ones will appear."

 

No panic making

Reza Moussavian, head of Deutsche Telekom's HR unit Digital & Innovation, also thinks there is no reason to panic about any large-scale elimination of jobs.  He likes to describe in his Blog "Jobs with a future - A future with jobs" the changes underway in terms of designer and engineering professions. "In an area such as mechanical engineering, skills like creativity, coaching and systematic thinking will become even more important than the ability to design a new machine." And "Design is going to be a key job of the future," he predicts.

Anyone who has access to digital media and education, whether in the workplace or in private, must use it, says Moussavian: "A basic understanding of digital technologies, modern work methods and tools and analytical skills will be as important as reading, mathematics and writing."

GESUCHT: KREATIVITÄT UND EMOTIONALE INTELLIGENZ

Das Weltwirtschaftsforum befragte Personalleiter und Chefstrategen in 366 internationalen Unternehmen, welche Kompetenzen und Fähigkeiten Mitarbeiter 2015 (Zeitpunkt der Befragung) und welche sie 2020 brauchen werden. Der Wunsch nach kreativen Fähigkeiten sprang dabei von Platz 10 (2015) auf Platz 3 (2020) der Skala, gleich hinter den Kompetenzen „Kritisches Denken“ und „Lösen von komplexen Aufgaben“. Interessant dabei: „Emotionale Intelligenz“ und „kognitive Flexibilität“ suchte man auf der Top 10-Liste der künftigen Fähigkeiten vergebens.

Reza Moussavian ist übrigens davon überzeugt, dass Menschen sich künftig weit weniger über den eigenen Job definieren werden. Eine gewisse ökonomische Stabilität werde natürlich immer wichtig sein, aber das Streben nach einem monetären Mehr werde insgesamt abnehmen, vermutet er.: „Das Bewusstsein, dass der 20. Schuh im Regal nicht so glücklich macht, wie ein Abend mit Freunden, wird auch die Arbeitswelt nachhaltig verändern.“ Und da könnte sich dann ein ganz neues Berufsbild mit hoher Wachstumsperspektive auftun: Der Digital Detox-Therapeut für gestresste Digitalisierungs-Junkies!

Und was sind eure Meinungen zu dem Thema Jobs in der Zukunft? Habt Ihr schon Erfahrungen in diesem Bereich gemacht, oder wollt allgemein mit uns über Arbeiten im digitalen Zeitalter diskutieren?

Dann teilt Eure Meinungen mit uns auf Twitter oder LinkedIn. Wir freuen uns über Euer Feedback!

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