In today's rapidly changing work environment, many people find their skills becoming obsolete long before they reach retirement age. The rapid pace of technological change, global labor market shifts, and a steady stream of corporate mergers and acquisitions are disrupting the way work is done - as well as the workers companies need to perform new tasks. Ask yourself this question: Are your skills up to date, or are they on the verge of obsolescence?
In past generations, individuals believed that the qualifications, skills, and experience they brought to a job would last for years, perhaps their entire career. But as a result of the changing world of work, this tenet no longer holds true. Experts predict that workers should expect to hold several different jobs in the course of their working life. Some jobs you will take don't even exist yet. At the same time, the skills that are currently in demand can become outdated quickly. A webmaster was a pretty hot job not so long ago. Now, with the right software, anyone can create a Web site with an off-the-shelf software program, making the market for those skills significantly less demanding. How frightening is it to learn that you are suddenly less valued by an employer when just a year or two earlier you were able to attract a premium salary?
Simply stated, the skills that you start your career with are no longer enough to take you through your entire working life. More than ever before, you need to refresh and develop your skills throughout your career. Continuous skills development and training - lifelong learning - is the order of the day for remaining relevant and valued throughout your career.
As a professional in the current work environment, you need to continuously assess your skills, experience, knowledge, and training and identify potential alternative career paths to pursue if your current role becomes obsolete. You can then make plans to prepare for, and pursue those careers, in order to transition to them as quickly as possible, should it become necessary.
It is up to every individual to take advantage of training opportunities that are offered to them. Actively seeking out training that complements and extends existing knowledge is the best approach. Airline pilots must continuously refresh their knowledge in flight simulators; accountants need to sit for additional financial exams to bring added value to existing clients; and bank tellers are required to take customer service courses to improve customer interaction and sales. The same should be true for every job category.
Now is the time to act to become a desired candidate for both the current and future world of work. Clearly, with the growing talent shortage that is affecting employers today, there is a market for capable people who can improve productivity and effectively help organizations beat their competitors. Individuals who take control of their career paths and ensure they are constantly learning and refreshing those in-demand skills will ensure their continued career success and viability long into the future.
Are you ready to begin the journey?