How to prepare for the future of jobs with AI accelerated growth?


Change is inevitable, like it or not. It feels most painful when we tend to resist it. This year global pandemic has proven our ability to adapt and change, define the new normal, and get creative in working from home. What is the next change that we need to embrace in order to make it less painful?

According to McKinsey, Japan is currently experiencing acceleration of automation and digitalization of existing work tasks, which could replace 16.6 million jobs. Many fear that repetitive and rule-based jobs will be lost to emerging technologies and accelerated growth of AI in the upcoming years, meaning the future of jobs is in question. How prepared do you feel for this change?

We are told not to panic since nobody knows for sure what kind of jobs will emerge during this transition. This leaves us waiting for the undefined future to come. From the futures thinking perspective in order to prepare for the future without letting it just happen to you, one needs to take action in shaping it, planning and accommodating the change. So, what can you do?

Never stop learning

The day I graduated with my master’s degree, I honestly thought I was done. Little did I know, it was just the beginning. Joining my first full-time employer taught me that learning is an opportunity to grow, change and develop, so learning should never stop. Years later I made Coursera my go-to platform for new knowledge. This year only I attended WomenTech Network event, Collision from Home, IBM Think Digital 2020, Virtual Success Summit, and many individual webinars – all joined from my couch. Many events and conferences moved online to survive the consequences of pandemic opening doors to everyone no matter the location and becoming more affordable.

Today anyone with internet connection has access to shared knowledge, and availability of learning resources keeps increasing. More courses are being offered for a small fee, scholarships or free of charge by LinkedIn Learning, Udacity, Skillcrush, and similar platforms. And if you are not certain where to upskill right now, just pick any subject of interest as it will enhance your learning ability. Having a learning strategy and knowing how to learn will make you fit for the jobs to come.

Embrace the introvert within

According to Susan Cain (and her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) solitude and focus on the inner world of thought can foster innovation and creativity. I personally neglected the power of introvert within myself until the strict lockdown that allowed for 1-hour groceries purchase every 3 days. Locked in my apartment I turned to my inner resourcefulness and finally exposed my creativity in a form of a blog. This experience encouraged me to assist a friend in co-creating complementary tools to help teams and individuals reduce stress and anxiety through balanced mind, body and work spirit. I even took a training in Psychological First Aid, which I saw fit for training future managers and leaders, and providing support in critical moments. Pandemic lockdowns had shown that we neglect to make time to expand our potential, explore personal resourcefulness, and finally meet with your true self.

Throughout history the jobs have evolved. New jobs have been created because of advanced technology such as app developer and data scientist; some jobs no longer exist – lamplighter, switchboard operator, ice cutter. The change can be painful, but there are ways to smooth out the transition. Nothing is pre-determined, automation and increased uptake of AI will be shaped by policies and legislations. Each of us can take the lead and help shape the future we want to live and work in. Let’s get ready for the successful and less painful transition together.

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