What was your careers advice like at school? Here we look at the future of work, and what it means for businesses and workers. Are traditional routes through education the way to go? Are we looking at the need for skills – or degrees?
Back in the 1970s, 5% of the population went to university. Now it’s more like 50% who gain a degree – but also manage to acquire a significant amount of debt alongside it. In a fast changing work environment, the question needs asking: how can degrees give the impression of a lifelong stamp of professional competency whilst rapid technological developments change the way people work anyway?
No-one now expects to have a job for life, and many people are actively rejecting the notion of working for someone else. More flexible working patterns, increasing numbers of freelancers, and more self-employed, with people often balancing more than one job – all these factors point to the need for workers to be very flexible about how they work.
Getting a degree now may actually be restricting opportunities later. Technological advances mean that new jobs and specialties will emerge. The World Economic Forum found that 65% of children entering primary school will end up in jobs that don’t actually exist at present.
There is a strong trend which indicates that the future of work may not be about degrees – but rather, it will focus on skills. Education won’t end with a graduation, but re-skilling throughout one’s working life will become essential if workers want to be relevant.
Employers can reap the benefits of this flexibility, but will also need to recognise the importance of allowing workers to develop skills within their employment. We’re looking here at not just upskilling, but re-skilling as technology progresses and disruption spreads.
Will your business be able to adapt to this fast-changing workplace environment – or be left behind?