We are at the beginnings of a new industrial revolution that will not only fundamentally transform most industries and businesses but will also have a wide-reaching impact on our careers. This new 4th industrial revolution will bring change and innovation at an unprecedented rate, fuelled by technological advancements like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, the internet of things and more.
Businesses need to be agile to react to rapidly changing technology and ways of doing business, so who they need on their team today might be drastically different to who they will need in even the very near future. This has led to a more flexible approach to workforce planning where businesses dynamically create teams with the talent they need for a period of time, often composed of a flexible internal workforce and contractors who come in for one project and then leave again. This gives businesses the flexibility they need to adapt to changing business needs, expand and contract as business dictates, and recruit individuals with the particular skill-set and technical know-how they require for a project. We often refer to this new environment as the gig economy and I believe we will see a shift from long-term employment to shorter-term more flexible gigs.
According to a report from LinkedIn, it’s likely that millennials will hold twice as many jobs by the time they are 30 years old than their colleagues who are 10 years older. Regardless of whether you are a freelancer or a full-time employee of an organization, I believe that as a result of this change, individuals must treat their careers more like a business of which they are the CEO. The professionals that behave like any effective CEO and prepare and train to be able to supply the skills and resources customers and businesses seek are going to be in command of their professional futures. These employees are those that have an eye on the horizon for upcoming opportunities.
This new reality is enabled by the explosion of internet-based resources that make it easy for anyone to acquire skills in any discipline quickly and cheaply. It means more people have access to essential training than ever before and those that want to forge out on their own can make it happen with the help of abundant free (or cheap) education. It’s those workers that take advantage of these resources who will set themselves up for success. Plus, data-powered career and employment sites fueled by rich data streams make it easier to know and compare the opportunities and rewards available to us.