There has been talk lately that we are entering a 4th Industrial Revolution. This is far from the days of steam power and machinery which transformed Britain from rural cottage industries to large scale urban industrialisation in the early 1800’s. Now it is all about the increase in automation and the continuing improvement in technology. As a result, the future of work is set to change and now is the time to get ready and think about a future proof career.
In our earlier blog, The Future of Work we looked at how the world of work and warehouse jobs are changing – yes, automation and robots may take away jobs previously done by people, but we need to focus on the positive aspects of these changes. New roles not seen before will emerge because of automation and despite what we see in the movies, there are inherent human skills that really can’t ever be replaced. “Human skill’ roles are here to stay.
So, whether you continue with your warehouse career or consider a new direction, it’s time to start your path to a future proof career now to be ahead of the game and get the skills and expertise you need to be ready.
The Changing Future of Work
It is true that over the past few years we have seen more and more jobs primarily done by people, be taken over by robots and automated processes. However, in many cases automation is about one specific task, not the whole job.
For example, if we look at the medical profession, robots can be used as tools to assist and improve procedures but a human professional is still required to talk to the patient, explain the process, program and control the machine and provide the necessary care before and after.
This example brings to light three factors:
- Existing job roles can be aided and enhanced by new technology. Machines will take on the routine and repetitive tasks so that distinctively human talents can be used more effectively.
- Human skills such as critical thinking, attention to detail, empathy and compassion cannot be replaced. No robot can be as creative or understanding as a real person. Try telling Alexa how you feel – she has some advice, but she is not real.
- Technology and automation requires designing, programming, engineering and maintenance. As this area continues evolving there is potential here for the creation of a whole array of new job roles.
The future of work then is not that less jobs will be available, but that the roles employers are looking to fill will change. This is backed up by the findings of the Future of Jobs report from the Centre for New Economy and Society1 which estimated that between 2018 and 2022 we will see a decline of 0.98 million jobs but a gain of 1.74 million jobs.
It is important now more than ever to get yourself the future proof skills you’ll need to take advantage of new opportunities. Be proactive and look at the skills you already have and start building on those. Consider the skills and expertise you need to gain through further training or in current warehouse job roles so that you will have what employers are going to be looking for in the future job market.
What are the top 10 job roles of the future?
Here are some of the job roles set to grow over the next few years. In some sectors these job roles are predicted to increase by up to 15% by 20221.
- Customer Service Advisors
- Sales & Marketing Professionals
- Nurses & Care Workers
- Training & Development Professionals
- Data Analysts
- Software & App Developers
- Social Media Specialists
- Financial Analysts
- Process Automation Experts
- Robotics Engineers
If most of your experience has been from your warehouse career it can be easy to think that warehouse work is the only thing you can do, but that’s not true at all. Think about the many personal and technical skills you have that can put you in good stead for other careers.
People Skills – working among people from different backgrounds helps develop people skills, an important attribute if you’re looking to work in a customer service role, the health profession or training and development.
Teamwork – being able to work alongside others and as an integral part of a team will put you in a good position for sales and marketing roles, software development and care work.
Health & Safety – working in warehouses means you must be fully aware of good health and safety practices. This knowledge will help if you want to move into a customer service position in the hospitality or catering sector.
Time Management and Organisation – being proven to meet deadlines and manage your workload efficiently will make you stand out to employers in many future roles.
Operational Skills – understanding and being able to operate technical equipment puts you a step ahead of others when it comes to knowing how processes and machines work together. Robotics engineering or process automation could be something to aim for.
Computer Skills – having a good working knowledge of using computer programs and software will help when moving to a career in software development or data analytics.
Logic & Problem Solving – working in a high-paced environment means thinking on your feet and coming up with solutions to tricky situations. Being able to think around a problem could help you move to a technical career working with process automation or perhaps into data analytics.
Staying in the Warehouse
Despite the expected shift in employment opportunities over the next few years, it’s not to say there will no longer be a need for warehouse workers and warehouse jobs will not be disappearing, only evolving.
If you want to stay in the warehouse sector consider applying for different positions within the warehouse to broaden your knowledge and skill set. Start an apprenticeship in a sector that is new to you to gain a qualification as you learn more.
If you can, get experience in a position where automated processes are already in place that way you will see them in action and can get ahead by learning how to control and maintain the equipment before they become mainstream.
Steps to a Future Proof Career
Over the next few months we will be featuring blog posts giving advice on how to transition into different job roles and how these can be a stepping stone to your chosen future proof career.
- Use your people skills to become a call centre advisor in a bank as a step towards becoming a financial analyst.
- Take your health and safety knowledge and your love of food to work in a kitchen and work your way up to becoming a chef.
So rather than a story of doom and gloom with automation taking away our jobs, the next few years are actually full of many new and exciting prospective future proof careers. You just have to decide which one to go for.
1 Centre for the New Economy and Society (2018) The Future of Jobs Report 2018. (Accessed January 2020)