Professional Reinvention: The key to survive in a future that’s already here today
11 de March de 2021
11 de March de 2021
You must have surely come across the phrase “renew or die” at some point in your life. It’s origins date back to the late 19th century, but it never really meant as much as it does today. Numbers speak louder than words: According to a study published by Thomas Frey, Director of the Da Vinci Institute, by 2030, 50% of the current jobs will not exist due to the impact of new technologies and most of the ones that do survive will be almost completely transformed.
In his report, Frey also found a ray of hope: he affirms that new jobs will also be created — although, he warns that they will require new skills and capabilities. Currently, there are already job positions for which there aren’t qualified professionals yet. According to the European Commission, between 500.000 and 750.000 positions linked to new technological capabilities will remain open.
Adapting the labour market to this new reality that is constantly evolving is one of the biggest challenges that we as a society will face during the next decade — a challenge that requires the help of both workers and companies, institutions, administrations, universities and academic centres
That’s why, in order to bring support in this complex transition towards a future that’s already here, EAE’s Work of the Future Centre was created — an education and applied research institute at EAE that studies the impact of the current and everchanging socioeconomic environment and boosts sustainable employability in fragile, uncertain and digital environments.
“There are industries that are already worn out and are not going to create more employment opportunities, while there are others that are still creating new positions that are not yet filled due to the lack of profiles. Work is like energy, it isn’t created nor can it be destroyed — it is, though, transforming itself at a very fast pace. It’s our responsibility towards society to train professionals, not for today but for that future that’s in constant state of evolution”, Pilar Llácer, Head of Research at the Work of the Future Centre, explained during the presentation of the new institute, last wednesday, in Madrid, in which some of our main partners took part — i.e. ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions, Fundación Once, The Spanish Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs (CEAJE — for its initials in Spanish), CATENON and the Spanish HR Directors Association.
In order to take on this responsibility towards society, one of the Work of the Future Centre’s goal is to promote professional reinvention — a concept that, until recently, was linked to extreme situations, like the loss of a job or the failure of a business initiative, but that now became a reality that requires a culture of lifelong learning. The Centre provides insights, tools, trends and solutions for professionals and companies that promote sustainable employability. It also has a strong influence on the constant updating of the programmes, methodologies and services offered by this institution.
It doesn’t matter which industry you work in or which position you have, it’s important to always stay updated. According to María José Marín, ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions’ CEO, “what’s happening right now is that we are going through changes of such magnitude that it makes no sense to discuss whether or not to reinvent ourselves anymore… If we don’t, it’s game over”.
It’s precisely because of this that, in order to guide professionals along this process during the first trimester of 2021, the Work of the Future Centre has published “The White Book of Professional Reinvention” — a study that offers the keys to successfully embarc on a process of professional reinvention, making use of analyses of real cases in which careers have been successfully reoriented.
But, what exactly is professional reinvention? According to the study, it follows four processes:
The characteristics of the labour market make it hard to change functions as well as changing sectors — that’s the reason why most of the professionals that took part in the study (nearly 25% of them) chose undertaking a project as a means of professional reinvention. In order to overcome these complications, all of them agree that there are two key elements: mindset and education.
“Mindset and education are key. I can’t imagine professionals of any sort not having a growth mindset, with great flexibility and with an outstanding capability to adapt to change. The future will demand professionals that receive constant education. If you want to keep up your employability and be able to grow, education is the key — that’s what makes the difference among professionals”. Those are the words of María Sánchez: People, Quality and CSR Manager at IFEMA and a member of the HR Directors Association.
This process doesn’t just call for the worker’s own personal effort but it also calls for a deep rethinking of the educational system that, at least in Spain, isn’t addressing the needs of the labour market. According to María José Martín, there are more than 200.000 tech jobs positions that are not being filled because there are no profiles that fit them, despite the high rates of youth unemployment and the famous overeducation of spanish youth.
More than 60% of companies fail to find the talent they are looking for. That’s why the educational model must undergo serious transformations and evolve in order to satisfy the needs of the labour market. “Something must be done and it must be done quickly in order to adapt the market to the world of today”, explains Martín.
Cristina Villanova, Corporate Managing Director at CATENON, brought to our attention another truly revealing fact: in Spain, there are 80.000 open positions in the field of cybersecurity and not all of them are for IT profiles —or what regular people call hackers—: “Cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary field in which there’s room for lawyers, commercial profiles and a great variety of professionals”.
Just like it was explained by Manuel Pimentel, Of Counsel at Baker Mckenzie, the fact that we live in a digital world doesn’t mean that we all have to carry out technical work. In fact, humanising all that is digital is going to be one of the most important challenges of this new era and this will make soft skills —those which allow people to successfully integrate in working environments— as important, if not more, as hard skills — like those needed to make use of the tools that are needed to carry out our job.
“There’s a very important challenge ahead: bringing humanism to all that is digital and, in order to do that, there’s no need for a deep knowledge of algorithms. Someone who knows how to touch a human fiber through a screen has done much of the journey. It even comes down to the way emails and messages are written: there’s people who shock and seduce you with words, just like in life itself”, explained Pimentel.
A thought that is closely related to the opening quote of this article, by Miguel de Unamuno: “Progress consists in renewing oneself”