The opportunities available in changing industries

Colarity - war for talent

New technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are already making their mark on the economy, causing significant upheaval in the job market.

While some industries will be hit hard in terms of redundancies and retrenchment, it’s not all bad news for job seekers or for organisations wanting to retain good talent with some coaching and training.

Work has always changed

If you look back over history, work has always changed. Once upon a time, people worked as chimney sweeps, lamp-lighters and rat catchers. With the invention of the telephone, switchboard operators were an integral part of the communication network before technology took over. At one point, humans manually performed the complex mathematics in order to put astronauts into orbit. The thought of performing those jobs today seems laughable, as advances in technology rendered them obsolete long ago.

The future holds many jobs that don’t exist today and you, your organisation and your talent can be prepared for them.

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According to SEEK, the top five Australian industries experiencing the most growth right now include:

  • Trades and Services
  • Science and Technology
  • Healthcare and Medical
  • Engineering
  • Mining, Resources and Energy

So what types of new jobs could we expect to see within these booming industries? Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, wrote a white paper proposing 21 jobs that will emerge over the next 10 years.

These predictions are based on the current major macroeconomic, political, demographic, societal, cultural, business and technology trends. Furthermore, the authors of the report believe that these roles will become cornerstones of the new future of work, rather than some far-fetched fantasy of science fiction.

Here are five of these jobs, that could very well exist here in Australia, based on the industries that are experiencing a boom right now.

Industry #1 — Trades and Services

New Job: Virtual Store Sherpa

It’s expected that online shopping will continue to evolve to include a greater number of virtual stores, complete with personalised ‘Sherpas’ available to meet every customer need.

Customers will no longer to need to visit ‘real’ stores even for their hardware, gardening and home design needs. Instead, customers will be matched up to a personalised Sherpa, who has the right skills to be able to advise on their needs. Via online platforms augmented reality glasses and video links, it’s anticipated that Sherpas with skills such as carpentry, plumbing, gardening, or home design will be able to interact with customers and provide their expert advice for every home project.

Hard skills required:

  • Apprenticeship with, or background as, a registered licensed contractor.
  • Demonstrated track record as a journeyman/ journeywoman, contractor, painter, carpenter, landscape designer, plumber or tool foreman.
  • Experience in retail sales and working with customers.

Soft skills required:

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Exceptional organisational skills.
  • High attention to detail.
  • Ability to multitask.

Industry #2 — Science and Technology

New Job: Genomic Portfolio Director

With the explosion of biotechnology research and advances in DNA analysis and gene-editing technology, it’s expected that new drugs will be developed at unprecedented rates.

There will be opportunities for those with business acumen and scientific qualifications to create strategies to meet customer’s ongoing health-related needs, in a way that is profitable for biotech companies.

This role will also involve working closely with health organisations, major insurers, large health systems and hospitals.

Hard skills required:

  • An undergraduate degree with a specific focus in genomics; a master’s degree in business and/or molecular biology or equivalent experience is preferred.
  • Research, sales/marketing or closely related experience.
  • Laboratory experience in a research or quality control setting

Soft skills required:

  • Leadership experience.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with many stakeholders.
  • Strong negotiating skills.
  • Exceptional analytical skills and the ability to interpret information.

Industry #3 — Healthcare and Medical

New Job: Personal Memory Curator

With an ageing population comes the increased likelihood of simple memory loss. Enter the Personal Memory Curator who will be required to provide a ‘live well’ solution for the elderly, by creating and delivering seamless virtual environments for them to inhabit. In this role, the curator will consult with patients to generate specifications for virtual reality experiences that bring a particular time, place or event to life.

Hard skills required:

  • A solid grounding in virtual reality simulation techniques.
  • Solid psychology qualification to uncover experience cues.
  • Narrative and storytelling capability.

Soft skills required:

  • A high degree of emotional intelligence (supportive and encouraging to the patient).
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Genuine concern for the welfare of others.
  • Strong creative skills.
  • Ability to work in a team.
  • Thirst for innovation.
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Industry #4 — Engineering

New Job: Cyber City Analyst

Those with engineering or IT qualifications may be able to find work as a Cyber City Analyst. It’s expected that nearly all municipal functions, including emergency services, power provisioning and waste collection, will use sensor data to ensure fast and effective delivery of key city services.

In this role of the future, analysts will ensure the steady flow of data around cities, including biodata, citizen data, and asset data. They’ll ensure technical and transmission equipment functions and will carry out any necessary repairs when automated data flows are broken, faulty or hacked.

This role will also involve diagnosing and fixing key city support processes.

Hard skills required:

  • Digital engineering qualifications in Agile, DevOps and continuous integration.
  • Understanding of key IT skills.
  • Circuitry skills (solder electronics, print silicon, etc.).
  • Ability to read analytics and visualization platforms.
  • Experience with 3-D printing.

Soft skills required:

  • Understanding of design thinking.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Ability to work in a team.

Industry #5 — Mining, Resources and Energy

New Job: Ethical Sourcing Officer 

With an increased focus on environmentalism and ethics, more companies are considering what’s ethical rather than just profitable. As a result, those with experience in energy management could find themselves working as an Ethical Sourcing Officer.

This role would involve working on ethical sourcing initiatives which are in line with the standards set by stakeholders. Ethical spends in energy, waste and community sponsorship will all be important.

The person in this role will be responsible for checking the ethical integrity of every contract and supply chain and will lead negotiations around contractual terms and conditions.

Hard skills required:

  • Proven ability to define ethical behaviour within the context of corporate objectives.
  • Educational background or experience in business, law, governance or environmental management.

Soft skills required:

  • Very strong negotiation skills.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work well on a team.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Ability to adapt to different client needs and develop and maintain successful working relationships.

With our affordable coaching and training platform, you can help yourself, your talent and your organisation be future-ready. Find out about Colarity.

What will it take Australia? Future of Jobs

Future of Jobs

The Future of Jobs Report 2018 presents information and data compiled and/or collected by the World Economic Forum. Data presented in the report are not foregone conclusions, but trends emerging from the collective actions and investment decisions taken or envisaged by companies today. We add some of our views throughout the paper.

This data is based on the results of a survey which focused on gathering the views of business executives—principally Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) facing the workforce changes of today’s enterprises.

 Here we present a summary of highlights, with a focus on the Australian perspective and argue that the banks and telcos are retrenching over 50,000 people in the next 2-3  suggesting we are not doing enough to retain workers while they upskill or reskill so they can transition to the new roles created.

The full report from WEF can be accessed here

The new world of work offers numerous opportunities for individuals and businesses to flourish, the economy to prosper and society to progress.

However, in order to make the most of these opportunities, we will need to approach them differently to how we have approached opportunities in the past.

More jobs…just different jobs

 Much has been said about the industries set to lose out with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, the Future of Jobs Report shows that the increased demand for new roles will offset the decreasing demand for others.

However, these gains will mean difficult transitions for millions of workers around the world. Governments, organizations, educational institutions and the community will need to collaborative to ensure that workers develop the skills required for these new jobs.

Sharon Mackie Goh, CEO and Chief Customer Officer at Your New Gig, says we do not fully understand the extent of job loss to new roles.

The changes required to participate in the workforce for some will be significant, and this is why we need to start having the conversation now so people can reflect, adjust and then, move forward.

While individuals must be proactive in their quest to upskill and re-skill, governments will need to assist by creating environments and systems that rapidly and creatively support these efforts. Businesses also need to recognise that investing in their people has many benefits.

Otherwise,skills shortages and gaps may significantly hamper the adoption of new technology by business.

A snapshot of the future

Whether we like it or not, our job market is already being influenced by new technology and for organisations responding to new ways of working.

In 2018, an average of 71% of total task hours across 12 industries covered in the report are performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. By 2022 this average is expected to have shifted to 58% task hours performed by humans and 42% by machines.

In real terms, this means nearly half of companies expect to experience some reduction in their full-time workforce, by 2022. However, 38% of businesses expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles, while more than 25% expect automation to lead to the creation of new jobs.

In order to cope with this rapidly changing landscape, between one-half and two-thirds of businesses expect to expand their workforce to include contractors, temporary staff, and freelancers who will perform specialised work. They also intend to engage workers on a more flexible basis and to embrace off-site working arrangements.

While this solution may fill skill-gaps, it raises other questions including how organisations can best manage a more fluid workforce of contractors and project teams, while simultaneously continuing to instil the values, culture, and purpose to their workforce.

Jobs of the future

Two concurrent trends which are driving business growth are the continued rise of tech jobs and skills; and ‘human-centric’ jobs and skills — those that depend on intrinsic human qualities.

These trends mean that over the next five years, there will be an increasing demand for:

  • Data analysts and scientists
  • Software and applications developers
  • E-commerce and social media experts

We can also expect to see new specialist roles such as:

  • AI and machine learning specialists
  • Big data specialists
  • Process automation experts
  • Information security analysts
  • User experience and human-machine interaction designers
  • Robotics engineers
  • Blockchain specialists.

Roles leveraging those distinctive ‘human’ skills will include:

  • Customer services workers
  • Sales and marketing professionals
  • Training and development experts
  • Organisational development specialists
  • Innovation managers.

Jobs that are expected to become increasingly redundant over the 2018–2022 period are routine-based, middle-skilled white-collar roles which are susceptible to advances in new technologies and process automation. These include:

  • Data entry clerks
  • Accounting and payroll clerks
  • Secretaries
  • Auditors
  • Bank tellers

Mackie Goh suggests that you could add middle management to this list, particularly in large businesses who are experiencing structural changes.

Top 10 skills: 2018 vs 2022

With the rapidly changing world of work, it only follows that the demand for skillsets will also change. The table below illustrates the kinds of skills that will be in demand, and on the decline by 2022.

Mackie Goh says this data shows there is a focus on what is often termed‘soft skills’.

“We see them as a combination of attitude, communication, aptitude and social skills and prefer to call them EQ, or non-technical skills. Also, there will be a need for us to have varying levels of digital literacy,” she says.

According to the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA) New Work Order report, there are four levels of digital literacy:

  1. Digital muggle: no digital skills required
  2. Digital citizen: use technology to communicate, find information and transact
  3. Digital worker: configure and use digital systems
  4. Digital maker: build digital technology.

“You would think that the majority of people are or will need to work towards becoming a digital citizen or digital worker, while many of the roles needed for the future will require a high level of digital-building capability,” says Goh

Based on this data, it’s obvious that reskilling our workers will be necessary. The Future of Jobs Report indicates that globally, by 2022, at least 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling.

Of these, around 35% will need training of up to six months, 9% will need six to 12 months of training, while 10% will require more than a years’ training.

The situation in Australia

According to the report, Australian businesses anticipate that nearly half of Australians (49%) won’t require any reskilling at all, with 55% of businesses confident about their strategies to deal with changing technology.

Mackie Goh says in stark contrast, however, banks and telcos have announced that they will be releasing thousands of employees over the next two-three years.

While all have programs in place to support these people by paying for outplacement services or courses, they are not considering reskilling with the intention that they remain with the company. However, they will look to hire in areas where there are skill-gaps.

“We have to acknowledge that companies cannot be expected to retain all their people however there is an argument to say, they can allow people time and allocate more learning dollars to their budgets so they can reskill rather than recruit, to solve their needs,” she says.

“Most of the allocation of a business’s learning budget today leans toward senior management. You only have to look at the number of Executive coaches and courses offering services today. If that is correct, then you would have to challenge the reports 49% will not require reskilling.”

In terms of responding to shifting skills needs, 87% of businesses were looking to automate the work, while 84% planned to hire new permanent staff with skills relevant to new technologies.

Almost three-quarters (74%) planned to retrain their employees, while 73% are going to hire new temporary staff with the relevant skills.

Half of the businesses surveyed anticipated using their internal departments to retrain their workers, while 29% expected to outsource this to private training providers.

Opportunities for upskilling

In order to maximise the gains and minimise the losses expected, governments, companies and community will need to find win-win solutions for their workers and their bottom lines.

The introduction of automation technology has the potential to make or break businesses, which is why it’s imperative that companies face this challenge head-on, in order to develop a motivated, agile workforce who are equipped with the right skills for the future job market.

Businesses will need to invest considerable time and money in reskilling their workforce. However, the Future of Jobs Report found that most companies intended to limit their skills training provision for the next five years, to employees already performing today’s in-demand jobs, instead of thinking more long-term and creatively.

In order to increase the availability of future skills, and address an impending skills scarcity, it will be necessary for organisations and individuals to take a more inclusive and proactive approach, and create a culture of lifelong learning, to enable a wider range of workers to be retrained.

It’s important to provide learning opportunities to all potentially displaced workers such as the less skilled or middle managers.

While some may resist in the short term, we need to change mindsets to encourage everyone to embrace new job types and new ways of working.

Australia Post with their Post People 1st initiative is a great example of reskilling their existing workforce. This initiative delivers a range of employment and development opportunities for their people.

When the company reformed their letters service, it made a commitment that there would be no forced redundancy of any employees directly impacted by the restructure.

Instead, Australia Post prioritises and supports their people through retraining or redeployment.

Ensuring a sufficient pool of appropriately skilled talent will also give companies a distinct competitive advantage. Companies who invest in their people will increase productivity and have a motivated workforce.

The future for Australia

The impact of AI is something we need to deal with now, rather than an abstract concept of the future.

While it presents opportunities, the Fourth Industrial Revolution also poses a number of challenges that must be addressed.

Firstly, policy-makers, regulators and educators must commit to helping those who are displaced repurpose their skills or retrain to acquire new skills. They will need to work together to improve education and training systems, in order to secure the skills and talent required for the new world of work.

Organisations need to think longer-term about the types of jobs that will be available within their company, the type of talent they need to fill these gaps, and how best to secure that talent.

While moving towards a ‘gig’ economy may be part of the solution, they will still face the challenge on how to manage a transient workforce and keep company values, culture and morale intact.

Individual workers must take personal responsibility for their own life long learning and career development.

While many individuals will need to be supported through periods of job transition and phases of retraining and upskilling by governments and employers, those who are proactive about increasing their skillsets will be in a prime position to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that impending technological developments will bring.

Mackie Goh says it’s time for all of Australia needs to start working together as there is so much to do.

“Business, government, educational institutions and community must work together, so we are ready for the challenges and opportunities that are already on our doorstep,” she says.

AI is unlikely to replace human workers. However, it’s still uncertain as to what types of jobs will be created, how permanent they will be, working as a freelancer or contractor and the changes that can brings and what kind of training they may require.

To prepare the workforce for these changes, Australia must understand the trends that are shaping the future of work, and commit to helping workers adapt to rapid economic shifts.

This will include changing education and training systems, labour market policies, and developing a new attitude towards the way businesses approach their core business, in particular around skills development and employment arrangements.

While this may not be easy for everyone involved, it is imperative to adopt this mindset, as we need to be prepared.