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Will Your Job Become Automated?

According to the results of a survey, as reported by the CIPD, almost a quarter of employees fear that parts of their jobs will become automated.  In fact the headline is worse than the actual results, in my view.

Will Your Job become Automated?

Of course parts of our jobs will become automated, they already are!

Wherever you work and whatever you do, machines have developed to do more and more of the work we do, especially the more mundane, routine tasks. And this trend will continue, probably at an increasing rate. Employers, especially those operating in high cost economies are always on the lookout for ways to lower their costs. And the trend will continue, probably at an ever increasing rate, as technologies mature and they move into the mainstream.

The key question you need to ask (and answer) about your job and the likelihood of automation is “What parts of my job (tasks) can be accomplished by following explicit rules?” Anything that involves creativity, ‘shades of grey’ decision making, judgement calls, are likely to be difficult for machines to copy well. Tasks that require you to ‘follow the rules,’ where those rules are procedural and involve Yes/No decisions based on clear criteria are the ones that will be automated.

Does it Matter?

Yes it does. As more and more aspects of our jobs become automated, we also have to ask ourselves; “what does this mean for me and my career?” “Is it a threat or an opportunity? Is it both?” And irrespective of that, how do I survive and thrive in this ever changing world of work?

Take Stock

One of the first things you should do is take stock of yourself – establish your Career Capital. I talk much more about this in “How to have an outstanding career” and include many exercises you can do to understand what your assets really are, as well as how you can use them to build your career success. So here are some key pointers:

Your Career Capital

Career capital is like a bank account, but rather than containing money, the value comes from the collection of your personal qualities, skills, knowledge, training, experiences, achievements and relationships that you have to offer your employer and the broader marketplace.

Career capital is built up over the course of your career. With every new assignment you work on, every new skill you develop, every new bit of learning that takes place, you grow your career capital further.

But you need to assess it and also establish what you need to do to continually grow and develop it – in ways that add to your value. There is little point in spending time and money developing something that is on the way out! As more and more aspects of your job become automated, you will need to rely on your ever growing Career Capital to keep you at the forefront of delivering value to your employer and to yourself.

Top tips for developing your career capital

  • Review your career capital account regularly – just as you would with your bank account (hopefully).
  • Pay into your career capital account regularly. This means adding new knowledge on a monthly basis; a skill or relationship that enhances you. It does not have to be something mega, such as gaining a new qualification, just a steady stream of small chunks of value.
  • If funds have not grown for a while, or are getting low because you are falling behind others, then you are not growing your career; you’re stagnating. Whatever you do, if you want a resilient career as a Young Professional, don’t allow this to happen.

And Finally…

Stay curious – ask questions to find out what is happening in your employer, in your market, with your competitors, in society generally. Only by asking questions can you find the answers that can help you thrive in a crazy, complex and ever changing world of work.

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