In today's technology based world, individuals are increasingly concerned with how to stay employed and how to be employable in the future.
There has been a flurry of articles in the press by MIT Review and Tech Crunch, etc. on how technology is destroying jobs, and that this trend will continue. Many individuals today are very concerned about future jobs prospects and how to ensure employability for the future.
Prescription for employability in a technology based world:
- Keep on top of industry trends. It is important if you are working today that you understand where your job opportunities are tomorrow. All industries are touched by technology in some way and have and will continue to evolve. Manufacturing has advanced with 3-D technology, media has been impacted by video and social networking sites, and medicine by robotics and virtual reality. If you are aware of the technology trends impacting your industry you can make a plan for yourself to stay employed. Keep up on the trends in your industry by reading articles and blogs, and research articles often published for free by key associations.
- Learn complimentary industry technologies. As noted, manufacturing now has introduced 3D printing, also referred to by Wikipedia as additive manufacturing. This creates efficiency in prototyping and can eliminate a set of manufacturing jobs. On the other hand, those who understand manufacturing and learn the new technologies will have a leg up on employment opportunities and be in a better position to advance the sector and themselves. Ask internally for opportunities to learn new applications and technologies so that you are growing in your job and advancing in your field.
- Participate in on-the-job training. Firms often offer training, supplementary classes and training opportunities for new technologies. While you are working at a firm ask what classes are available for you to take. Firms will often offer this for free as part of professional development programs.
- Make lateral moves. If you have been in one job for a long period of time it may be time to raise your hand to move to another role in the firm. Many firms see the value of having well rounded employees who are interested in making lateral moves to expand their expertise. The lateral move can help enhance your skills, increase your visibility in the firm, and provide networking opportunities which will help you identify future career opportunities.
- Look outside your firm. If you can't accelerate your learning and enhance your skills inside the firm it may be time to look outside. "Firms today are interested in individuals who have a portfolio of expertise from a variety of firms," says Anne Angelopoulos, HR recruiter for Just Staff. "The new norm is to stay at a firm, accomplish something, and expand your skills and not to stay more than 6 or 7 years." Maureen Perkins, technology recruiter at Gent & Associates says, "Information Technology (IT) professionals will move to other firms if they cannot continue to refine and grow their technology skills at the firm they are at."
- Take advantage of low cost and free classes. Technology retailers such as Apple, Microsoft, ATT, and etc. will often have free public seminars on their technologies or people on site to help you. Many of these classes are in the store and provide hands on training.
- Learn online. Online tutorials are another way to increase your knowledge and skills. Almost all software and apps today come with online tutorials. Youtube has become an incredible repository of video tutorials from technology providers, consultants, and self-made experts.
- Meet people. Meetup.com is a social online site that, according to their website, "helps groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in their local communities around the world." These groups meet for a variety of topics from hiking to business growth to technology to wine and food. Meetup.com is free to join and many of the groups host no-cost events.
Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti is a leading thought leader on career development. She is the author of ten books, a regular media contributor, and global speaker. She is a key advisor for recruiting and outplacement firms. Her most recent book is Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders. Tracey is a visiting scholar at Stanford University Media X program, researching the impact of technology on future careers. Find Tracey on Twitter and Facebook.