The changing workforce – is it here to stay?

As life speeds up and we know that change is not the C word, what do we need to think about? Let’s think, first, about the fourth industrial revolution. What does that mean? The history – the first used water and steam power to change production, speed it up, mechanise it. Next, we used electric power to create mass production and then came the third that used electronics and information technology to automate our production and change our lives. We all thought that it would stop there but NO! Now the new dawn – the fourth industrial revolution is building on the last – the digital revolution that has been building momentum since the middle of the last century is changing our world at a pace that is mind-blowing to keep up with. It is a blending of technologies and is re-imagining the physical, digital, and biological worlds.

We may feel anxious about this, but it is truly exciting (if we get a handle on it). There is no doubt about the rapid pace of tech development, but the future holds almost infinite possibilities. And, we can all be a part of it.

Something I am starting to feel is the fact that now I AM part of the aging population – not that far from wanting to sit back and kick back – but oh so I far from there! But what will living a longer life mean, for both us and for generations to follow? Well first off, our work life will be longer and to be honest we will need to work very differently. There will be a change in how we think of the education system – it won’t stop when you leave school, college or Uni.  And working at one job, in one discipline and even in one industry for our whole careers IS a thing of the past but now that is even more clear.

We at Rumage have found this. We’ve all pivoted our roles and careers. From sailor to artist to CEO; marketer to serial business founder; company guy to leading the tech innovation way! We have all made new choices and adapted to the changing world. We want to hire talent that is right for now, but talent that wants more more out of a role, wants to learn and shift what they do as the world shifts and as our company grows.

“I have loved the diversity of my life so far, it’s very energising facing new challenges”

Jo Spolton – CEO Rumage

There should no longer be the need to find people to fit roles, we should be training and developing our teams to match the world as it needs different skill sets.

Not always should this fall to the employer, employees need to take control of their learning and make their careers future proofed! I am reading The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper, who I’ve seen talk many times, it is all about ditching the corporate ladder and discovering new opportunities – basically taking control of your career and making it what you want it to be. There are lots of top tips here: Amazing If

And what about retirement? Something our parents/grandparents saw as a rite of passage – well that age is done! People are taking career breaks, switching disciplines, starting businesses and re-skilling – this aging population come with talent, adaptability and experience. We need to champion new skill-sets and know that whatever age we are we need to be ‘life learners’. Always ready to be challenged, ready to read, to learn, to share – then we have a workforce that moves forward and makes a step change in the communities we live and work in.

Automation means the work of the future will be vastly different. Scary but to be honest automation can remove the more repetitive, monotonous tasks we undertake. This frees us humans to shine in more creative areas. Humans cannot be replaced, IQ maybe but EQ – never!

This will mean that life-long learning is the future for everyone. You can no longer just sit back and go with the flow. You need to learn about the area you work in and other areas that are of interest to you. Then you can challenge the status quo and only then can we make real change and see the impact we can have on work life, home life and on our planet.

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