Building a career isn’t just about getting good at the job you have. It’s about preparing for the next job. This involves making predictions about the future of the workforce and then taking the necessary steps to prepare for those developments. 

It can be a tricky endeavor.  In a lot of ways, guiding your personal professional development is a lot like being an investor. You need to have a vision of the future in mind, and then use that to determine where to direct your resources.  

As cloudy as the future can sometimes seem, some broad factors remain clear. Here’s a look at some of the key dynamics likely to shape the future of the workforce, and what you can do to take advantage: 

Be Ready to Gig 

The gig economy has already become a major force in the working world. Its expansion has taken most people by surprise. Even pundits who predicted the massive growth of on-demand jobs have been shocked by its exponential spread. 

A few years ago, Intuit and Emergent Research predicted that 9.2 million people would be working in gig jobs by 2021. Fast forward to the present day and, as we enter the 2020s, there are already more than 50 million Americans earning some portion of their living from the gig economy. 

It’s clear these changes in the structure of work are here to stay. Rather than a side hustle or a secondary part of the labor market, gig positions will become more firmly planted as one of the core ways of defining the relationship between businesses and workers. 

You should embrace this future. While gig jobs offer less stability, they come with notable benefits as well. They provide higher levels of flexibility and give you the opportunity to work with multiple employers. You won’t necessarily have to become a gig worker to operate in the new economy. But, knowing how to do so will provide you with a wider range of options. 

Keep Learning 

It was once common to hold a job for decades. People often passed entire working lives performing the same function within the same company. However, this type of career path has gone the way of VCRs and rotary phones. 

The new structure of the working world is based on change. You should expect to switch careers over the course of your professional life. In fact, you should expect to switch them a lot. One set of statistics predicts that you will change careers 5-7 times over the course of your time in the workforce. 

This dynamic puts a premium on constant learning. You can’t settle into a position and plan on being there for the long haul. You have to get ready for the next change. With this in mind, make a commitment to ongoing education. Learn new skills and get familiar with all the new technologies impacting your industry. 

Communication is Key 

The world has become more connected. That fact puts a lot of emphasis on the connections. Being able to share and to explain information will be held in high value as communication technology continues to advance. 

Statistics bear out this insight. A study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that nearly three-quarters of employers (73%) view strong written communication skills as important for success at their company. This places communication as a core requirement at almost any position. 

Meanwhile, communication will become even more important in finding a job. Social media and other similar platforms have turned each worker into their own brand. More and more, you’ll need to leverage communication skills in order to build your reputation and to get noticed. 

Getting ready for changes in the workforce requires a clear vision of the future. Expert advice makes it easier to gain this insight. By teaming with a strong recruiting partner, like SmartTalent, you gain access to the in-depth knowledge you need to get ready for any developments that come about. 

Contact SmartTalent today to learn more. 

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