The Skills You Need To Future Proof Your Career

The world is full of uncertainties, and for many people, those uncertainties revolve around their careers. Between the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), automation and the gig economy, there are many questions about what careers and job skills may be in demand — or entirely irrelevant — in the future. There is no way to predict what the future job market will look like, but employees are not without the power to remain relevant. With some planning and strategy, you can future proof your career skills to ensure you are never without a job.

What is future proofing, and why is it important to all careers?

You don’t need a crystal ball to see the demographic, technological, and socio-economic changes that are impacting the global and national economies. Decades ago, factory workers worried about being replaced by robots; today, taxi drivers, newspaper writers and editors, postal workers, financial professionals, restaurant servers and retail workers, amongst others, face the same concerns. That’s why future proofing is critically important to everyone, regardless of the career field.

Future proofing your career involves enacting strategies that help shape or enhance your career and allow you to remain relevant in your field. Just as future proofing in an industry means to anticipate the future in such a way as to minimize negative forces and encourage positive outcomes, future proofing your career is all about developing or improving a skill set that keeps you employed. Adapting to a changing job market and landscape is an invaluable skill that will help you in any career field, no matter how much it changes.

Why can some industries expect disruption in the next 20 years?

Many industries expect disruption due to technological advancements within the next two decades. The rapid progression of technology has radically changed some industries so much that some workers fear to lose their jobs to AI while simultaneously being unable to find new employment in a tech-focused economy.

Some careers and industries have already seen the impact of technology on their respective fields. Technology is not going away; thus, many of these industries can expect further disruptions. Some of these fields include:

  • Financial professionals and advisors (replaced by online trading websites)
  • Bank tellers (replaced by online payments and ATMs)
  • Executive assistants (replaced by software, mobile apps, automated systems)
  • Retail stores (replaced by online stores like Amazon)
  • Delivery workers (replaced by drone technology)
  • Language translators (replaced by computer translators)
  • Tax accountants (replaced by online tax software)

All career fields have been or will be impacted by technological advancements, but some will suffer more than others.

What skills are needed to avoid disruption to roles and workplaces?

What should you do to make sure that your career or role is future proof? You can develop core skills that can help you avoid disruption to your employment. Focus on these skills to increase your employment value in the face of any future changes:

Develop and revise a career plan.

Create a blueprint as a living document for your career. No matter what technology brings to the job market, having a career plan — one that is fluid and flexible — is still a good idea. Check in with your plan every year and ask yourself critical questions, such as: what skills do I need to develop to prepare for future opportunities? Is my career path aligned with my health and priorities? Stay focused on your career by revisiting your plan frequently.

Go global.

Technology has increased our ability to communicate and work with people from all over the world. Your job may eventually go global, and you can take steps to be an active part of that change. Learn a new language, read about diverse cultures and volunteer for assignments that involve international exposure or clientele. Global work experience is an attractive skill to employers in ever expanding fields.

Stay tech-fluent.

Do everything you can to keep your tech skills current, even if the technology you learn isn’t immediately related to your role or your company isn’t up to date. Learn about not only how technology works but what it can deliver to your career and skill set. If necessary, learn coding or computer programming, wearable technology, e-business, data mining, or AI to broaden your technicall abilities and experience.

Build a professional network.

Strive to build new connections or strengthen relationships with people both inside and outside your organization. Join professional networks, participate in webinars and seminars, and stay in contact with former colleagues and employers. Continually adding to your network can be a lifeline for when you need a new position or additional mentoring or leadership.

How soft skills and essential industries can positively impact your career.

Soft skills, those skills that technology cannot duplicate, are one means by which to weather any future employment upheavals and uncertainties. Qualities such as emotional intelligence, critical thinking, empathy, and active listening skills are distinctly human traits, and many industries must have employees with these characteristics to succeed.

For example, computers may work well for automated phone systems and customer service, but they are incapable of compassion, a solely human quality and one needed in many careers. Compassion is a necessity in essential industries such as therapy and nursing as well as education and pharmacy.

Other important soft skills to hone are creativity, critical to careers in public relations, journalism, and fashion design. Judgement, decision-making, and problem-solving are soft skills frequently used in fields like event management and business management. Develop your soft skills to secure your present and future career.

Future proof your employment with ICI’s course offerings.

No matter what changes come your way, you can take steps to future proof your career and secure employment. Learn new skills or develop existing ones further by enrolling in one of ICI’s range of courses. Additional qualifications and diplomas will keep you relevant in the job market. Take control of your future and enrol today.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.