How to futureproof your career

07 December 2023

Undergraduate Careers Manager, Hilary shares her insight on what employers are looking for and transferable skills for the future world of work.

In a post COVID pandemic world, things have really changed in the way we work. For example, remote working looks like it is here to stay as more and more employers establish a mix of working from home and office, business travel is reduced and we engage in more digital communications.  Employers are even more focused on futureproofing their organisation and workforce to boost resilience for the future and ultimately continue to thrive, even in times of adversity.

Not only has COVID affected organisations, but according to a report by PWC – Workforce of the Future 2030, there are five main driving forces that will influence the future world of work:

  • Technological breakthroughs (e.g. AI, Robotics, automation)
  • Demographic shifts (e.g. ageing population, delaying retirement)
  • Rapid urbanisation (e.g. people gravitating more towards living in cities)
  • Shifts in global economic power (e.g. developing and developed countries power shifting)
  • Resource scarcity & climate change (e.g. focus on sustainability)

These forces are very likely to affect which jobs are increasing and decreasing in demand. For example, jobs growth is predicted to be in Technology related roles such as Data Analysts, AI & Machine Learning Specialists, Process automation, Digital Marketing but also ‘human’ skills-related roles such as Business Development, Strategy and Organisational Development.

There are positive indicators from employers and professional bodies, certainly, for the UK, that strong investment in graduate talent will continue, especially when it comes to these more professional, highly skilled roles. According to a report by Universities UK ‘Busting Graduate Job Myths’, AI is expected to increase demand for graduate recruits, especially in Healthcare, IT, and Marketing, and graduate vacancies in general are now 20% higher than in 2019 before the COVID pandemic.

So how will this affect the skills that employers will be looking for in their student/graduate hires?

According to the Future of Jobs Report 2020 based on a survey representing nearly 300 global companies, which collectively employ 8 million workers, the skills that will be necessary to thrive in your career and enhance your employability, essentially revolve around four main themes: 

  • Problem-solving (e.g. analytical thinking, creativity, critical thinking)
  • Self-management (e.g. active learning, resilience)
  • Working with people (e.g. leadership, social influence)
  • Technology use/development (e.g. technology design, programming, monitoring, control)

What does this mean for you as a prospective/current university student?

You will see that most of the sought-after skills are ‘soft skills’ where no technical knowledge is required, so there is no excuse, you could be developing these now at school or university. Consider what you enjoy and what you are good at, do they match any of the skills needed? Or consider your weaknesses or areas for development, what could you do now to improve?

There are many ways that you can develop these skills and not just in the classroom. Also, consider involvement in sports teams to develop your strategic thinking, or volunteer/charity work for teamwork and problem-solving, managing social media for a student society for your technology design and creativity skills, or being a student rep or ambassador for your leadership skills, to name just a few. The options are endless and it doesn’t have to be paid jobs or work experience, your extra-curricular activities most definitely count.

So, ask yourself now, what is one skill that you could be developing now as a priority to futureproof your future career?

If you are a current WBS student and would like to discuss this with us or for any other careers-related matters, don’t hesitate to book a 1 to 1 appointment with us here.

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