AJO Blog

Primary tabs

How is your profession changing and are you prepared?

Posted in


October 11th, 2017

- Updated on

November 9, 2017 - 12:20pm

"Just like life on earth, the world of work has been changing down the centuries. Most of the time the change is so small, incremental and slow, that we are oblivious until it takes the shape of something that we are able to grasp, and we begin to ‘see’ the evolution."  Nandini S. Senior Vice-President; Group Head, Organization Development, Human Resource Development, Infosys Limited. 

Take the administrative assistant as an example. It’s the modern-day incarnation of the secretary. Decades ago, that job was limited to things such as taking notes (by hand, with paper and pencil) and typing letters, as well as managing schedules. But as that job has evolved, so too has the job description (and the title). Today, fewer than 15 percent of people who work in secretary-like positions call themselves secretaries. Most are office managers or administrative assistants or executive assistants, to name a few. 
What those who endure in this profession realize is that change is inevitable, and they must adapt. They can’t confine themselves to typewriters, for example; they must instead embrace the latest machine, the latest software. Instead of letting themselves be replaced by automation, they must understand how their abilities are still valuable. This excellent graphic by Quill illustrates how one role has evolved.   

Questions for Reflection

According to the Pew Research Center, Americans anticipate significant changes to the nature of jobs and work in the coming decades as a result of automation, with more than three-quarters of Americans (77%) believing that robots and computers might one day be able to do many of the jobs currently done by humans. In fact, 20% consider this extremely realistic. By the same token, commentators (see reading below) predict that between 65%-85% of jobs in 2030 don't exist today...... and today’s learners will have 8 to 10 jobs by the time they are 38.
Consider your current line of work and these questions:
  • How has it evolved over time?
  • How is it changing today?
  • Are any changes small and imperceptible or rapidly impacting your field?
  • How will automation impact you? 
  • How are you responding? 
  • Does your next profession even exist today? 
  • How are you directing your learning?
  • What knowledge and skills are you developing?
"As today’s economies become ever more knowledge-based, technology-driven and globalized, and because we simply don’t know what the jobs of tomorrow will look like, there is a growing recognition that we have to prepare the next generation with future-ready skills and with the capacity for continued lifelong learning." Leopold, Ratcheva and Zahidi. World Economic Forum.

Recommended Reading & References