Time to Train Your Mind for Change
Today’s labor market is changing at such a fast pace that even conservative estimates predict the elimination of half of today’s jobs in the next 20-25 years. Rather than focusing on mastering a certain skill or deepening their expertise, fresh graduates and those already on the job market are better off learning to adapt if they wish to keep their jobs or secure new ones in the future.
Mirtill Megyeri, co-founder of Zyntern.
What is the single most important skill that you need to safely navigate the labor market of the future? A knack for technology? Excellent interpersonal skills? A true willingness to work in a team? To land a job, all of these are crucial but they are not what you are expected to possess in the first place.
A hint: think of the way the world is changing. Some experts predict that 40% of the world’s jobs will be replaced by robots in 15 years. The fact that technology has a huge impact on the labor market is nothing new; it is rather the pace at which it is doing so that is unprecedented. So little wonder that the number one skill that would help you secure a position, regardless of what you were trained to do, is the ability to adapt to change, quickly.
There will be skills where one simply can’t compete with a machine; technology will analyze data much faster than a person, chief HR officer of Telekom Zsuzsanna Friedl said at the company’s recent MOST Forum. But there will also be tasks that machines can’t deal with and therefore the value of those skills will increase: creativity is one, she added.
But what’s truly relevant in a corporate environment, according to the expert, is how employees will be capable of embracing the mindset of looking critically at current structures and procedures, and how they can bring new ideas and add constructive suggestions. This is a huge challenge at a large company, which is why you need employees who are able to look at the big picture rather than focusing only on a smaller task.
“They should know where it all starts and ends and take responsibility for the procedure as a whole,” Friedl says. “It is crucial to create this mindset and recruit people who possess these skills,” she adds.
Survival of the Fittest
“Throughout evolution it was those fitting the best who survived,” Mirtill Megyeri, co-founder of Zyntern, an internship and fresh graduate career platform tells the Budapest Business Journal.
The same principle applies today: those able to adapt to changing requirements, devices, etc. will be in demand. So in the future it will become an even more dominant trend that firms are seeking candidates with basic competencies such as the ability to learn, a knack for technology or cyclical thinking, says Megyeri.
It is important that people are conscious of what they want to work in and train themselves, she adds. But rather than focusing on lexical knowledge, the emphasis should be building soft skills and technology skills. Due to the fast-changing needs of the labor market, employees will be trained to master certain expertise by companies rather than the educational system, she adds.
The question is whether it is possible to measure one’s ability to adapt to changes. Today, it can be tested at the level of attitude using personality tests, Megyeri explains. Once someone is hired, you can trace whether they can adapt to people and technology or acquire knowledge rapidly. At Zyntern, job seekers can add to a list of skills their ability to adapt to changes (the platform lists 250 hard and soft skills, including adaptation to change).
The willingness to adapt to changes at this point is not among the core competencies firms are looking for, Megyeri adds. They do say that it is important but they hardly measure it and there is no real emphasis on that, she adds.
Training for the Trained
Adapting to changes quickly may soon move higher up an employer’s list of priorities, but today companies are glad if they can find people to fill vacancies. In a job market that has turned into a sellers’ market, they can hardly pick. But people who wish to change careers may, ironically, have a hard time doing so, as many advanced and adult training courses require some previous expertise.
“Most people attending our courses have some financial expertise and they come mostly to deepen their knowledge,” László Murvai, vice president at SALDO Financial Consulting and Informatics Zrt. tells the BBJ. This is also due to the restrictive nature of most OKJ training that requires one to have some background in the field, Murvai explains.
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