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How preparing for the future of work is everyone’s responsibility

It was discovered through a survey of more than 1,000 working Australians that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation were perceived as a bigger threat to job security than an economic downturn.

The Director of Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for the New Workforce shared that more than half of Australian workers are worried that technology will threaten their jobs.

Survey says

According to a recent press release, emerging technologies are definitely on the radar of many Australians.

The survey has made it quite clear that working Australians feel that they are not ready for the changes they expect over the next five years.

More than half of the surveyed workers believe their current skillset will not last five years, as digital technology is already changing or affecting many jobs.

Skills for the future world of work 

According to the Director, uniquely human skills will be the point of difference for workers in the future.

People connecting and working with people will drive the value add from workers in the digital economy.

Workers should focus on improving social competencies and qualities such as emotional intelligence, empathy, entrepreneurial skills, leadership, risk-taking ability, creativity, ideation, collaboration and resilience.

Traditional expertise remains fundamentally important. However, it will serve as the foundation rather than being the main point of difference.

Training in soft skills and business skills is in high demand. These non-traditional skills are becoming increasingly important to retain and engage staff.

Moreover, understanding what makes the staff tick will help get the most out of them.

The workforce of the future is more generalist, so there is a need for a greater range of skills. It is about giving people the right skills to do their jobs, not become an expert in a specific field forever.

Everyone’s responsibility

The Director shared that companies and organisations often focus on the technology requirements for the digital economy than on their people.

Employers need to empower workers to be decision-makers and risk-takers, starting with fostering a culture of curiosity and continuous learning.

Workers who are resilient in ambiguous and dynamic environments, and can work across knowledge boundaries, will develop the agency they need to succeed.

Employers should create learning workplaces and allow workers to self-direct their learning based on their motivational purpose.

In addition, workers need the right mindset for the future of work.

Having the right mindset will allow workers to recognise that their innately human skills will become increasingly important.

He advised workers not to be afraid of taking one’s self out of their comfort zone and to never stop learning.

The Centre for the New Workforce

The Centre for the New Workforce was officially launched in December 2018.

The centre is a research and thought leadership initiative designed to support Australian businesses, organisations and their employees by developing new approaches to learning that empower people to thrive in the future of work.


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