Careers in the 21st century

Careers in the 21st century
Promoted by Careers in the 21st century

We took in Fuel50’s recent online seminar with Josh Bersin and Dani Johnson of Deloitte Consulting, which looked at human capital trends, recent research on career management and a case study from Ingersoll Rand. Here’s a summary of what we learned.

This is not your parents’ career management

There have been major changes in the workplace and the workforce in recent decades and employees now aspire to manage and map out a career path with support from their manager and organisation, the emphasis being on shared responsibility, which looks like this:

  • Worker – drives the process
  • Manager – supports and guides
  • Organisation – sets expectations, builds infrastructure

There is more attention to career progression which is not necessarily, upwards, but embraces more movement in general, with an emphasis on development, and “experience collecting” and “attribute building”.

The modern way of working has seen a move from structured to open career paths – where the focus is on facilitating work by assembling the most appropriate talent. Movement around the organisation is based on an integration of worker interest and organisational need; this way of working is particularly appropriate in team and collaborative environments.


The new industrial revolution

90% of organisations surveyed by MIT and Deloitte anticipate their industries will be totally disrupted by digital trends. What will this mean for the workplace of the future? Bersin says that the impact of new technologies will lead to hybrid jobs which require a knowledge of the technology as a given and good social skills, cognitive skills that facilitate creative thinking, teamwork, research and problem-solving. We are all knowledge workers now.

Career management has become important because what millennials really value is training and development. Lifelong learning and continuous professional development are crucial to sustainable career given the changes we are seeing:

  • The half-life of technical skills is approximately 2 years
  • 50% of millennials will live to age of 100, expect 10-12 jobs by age of 38
  • Life expectancy of Fortune 1000 firm is less than 15 years
  • 37% of working people believe they will change careers within 5 years
  • Only 29% of companies believe careers in their company are 10 years+, 44% say less than five years

The job for life has long since disappeared. Career management now is about accruing experience in a journey during which you appreciate as an asset. Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn points out that prospective new hires are asked “What are you going to do when you leave LinkedIn?” because they are committed to the idea that as an employer they are going to be transformative in the prospective employee’s career. A job is less a lifetime contract and more a “tour of duty” – a limited-time engagement meant to achieve specific ends on both sides.

This means it is increasing important to carefully select your career moves, seeking organisations that will offer development opportunities and personal growth; we know that a person’s best performance comes when they are given meaningful work that leverages their personal strengths, we need roles that offer the potential to optimise strengths and build and develop skills.

We’ve seen a massive shift to an expanded non-traditional workforce – don’t think of a contract of employment as the principal employment method, we are all our own boss now as consulting, freelancing, contracting, externships, crowdsourcing and contingent working predominate.

The Deloitte model suggests that successful career management is predicated on an alignment of preferences and values to traverse progression paths and development opportunities facilitated by the enablers of leadership, messaging and infrastructure. Flexible career paths being now more common than a more structured approach.


Career management at Ingersoll Rand

Michael Martin of Ingersoll Rand said employee engagement surveys had told them that employees wanted more focus on career development, raising questions around the issue:

  • Can I achieve my career goals at this company
  • The company has effective processes for developing people
  • I am supported in taking advantage of available career opportunities

They implemented an online career navigation system enabling employees to reflect, explore and plan to enhance their career development which included manager tools to facilitate better career discussions and guidance as a foundation for succession planning and building stronger talent pipelines. The aim being – ‘growing people to grow our business’.

Poll results for seminar attendees

  • 54% are considering restructuring their career pathways
  • 49% believe work needs to be done on career visibility – why don’t employers make career paths more obvious and available for exploration?
  • Only 14% have open career approach, 55% flexible and 30% structured

Watch ‘Careers in the 21st century’ seminar

Click here to watch the seminar in full

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