Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Our society is moving faster than ever before and the combination of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, the rapid change in peoples’ life styles, new preferences and other socio-economic and demographic factors is resulting in major disruptions to the labour markets and how we think of the concept of working. New categories of jobs are and will continue to emerge and partly or wholly displacing others.
The skill sets required in both old and new occupations will also change in most industries and transform how and where people will work in the coming years. In the World Economic Forums report “The Future of Jobs”, it is estimated that 65 % of all children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. Many of the major drivers of transformation currently affecting global industries, technological and societal, are ultimately expected to have a significant impact on job creation, job displacement, labour productivity and skill gaps.
This might seem like frightening news to many; however, this is nothing new to us. When thinking about it, we have been in this changing climate for a while now. In many industries and countries, the most in-demand occupations or specialties today did not even exist ten or five years ago, and it is said that since the internet was born it has created about three new jobs for every one job taken away. And already today, many of us can look back at our childhood dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up, with the knowledge that our dream job today wasn’t even possible to imagine when we were kids. Even tough we have been through a rapidly changing labour market, it is now accelerating and will go in a much faster speed going forward. Many predict that we will just within a couple of years, have to have multiple careers, re-educate ourselves more than once in our life time and that it will be absolutely necessary for us to change both roles, employers and disciplines continuously over time in order to stay relevant.
"Lifelong learning is the ongoing pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons."
Therefore, the concept of lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important in the knowledge-intensive, complex and global world in which we are living. So what is then “lifelong learning” all about? Lifelong learning is the ongoing pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. A concept that has been around for a long time but have perhaps now become more relevant than ever before - since we know that it will be absolute key for us to fast and easy learn new things and fields going forward.
"This will require changes in everything from how the education system works, what human resources functions looks for in a candidate, how we think of talent scouting and how companies work with internal learnings, coaching and talk about career plans."
Lifelong learning is in many ways harder and more complex than one would think of, since it not only requires us to have an open mind-set and willingness to learn, but also the right access to gather new knowledge. Therefore, all parts of society need to start mobilizing and prepare for how we will be able to ensure that everyone have the possibility to be relevant also in the future and having the chance to discover new trends and be aware of the different options that will emerge while the market is continuing to change. This will require changes in everything from how the education system works, what human resources functions looks for in a candidate, how we think of talent scouting and how companies work with internal learnings, coaching and talk about career plans.
But what can you do already today in order to start adapting to the concept of lifelong learning and being prepared for the fast shifting future labour market?
Here are 6 tips that can be a starting point on your path of continuous learning:
Set a plan for your learning
Start off by setting your intentions for what you want to learn and if you have any milestones or goals related to it. Ask yourself: What areas are you interested in? How much time are you ready to spend every week on new learnings? And how could you use your new learnings in your everyday work?
Make "learning new things" a part of you daily work routine
An efficient way to integrate learnings in to your daily routine, is to schedule it in your work calendar. It doesn’t have to be any large sacrifice in time, a 10-minute TED Talk every Monday or a 30-minute reading or watching a Youtube clip on a new topic per week, the most important part is that you make it happen and see it as important as other tasks at work.
Have fun while learning new things
It is absolute key to bring the fun into learning new things. Making this into something that you feel motivated and driven by and want to continue with. Therefore, make sure to reward yourself every time you reach a goal or a milestone. You could also bring your learnings into your private life, by arranging “theme” dinners and invite friends to discuss a specific topic or arrange a book club with others around a theme and thereby learn together.
Involving others is a good way to stick to your goals. Reach out to your network and share your journey, your new learnings and make them involved by welcoming suggestions of things you should look into or people you should meet. Another way is to start arranging trend sessions at work, encouraging others to share new knowledge with you.
Challenge yourself by working in new ways and at new places
It is very easy to become comfortable and doing things as you always have. But just by changing the atmosphere or work space once a week or month, new ideas will come to you. Another effective way is to be curious of other functions and colleagues at work. This can be done by desk shadowing a colleague at another department for a day or schedule lunch with someone that works with something else than you do.
Meet people from another industries or areas
A great way to be more motivated and inspired by a new field or area is to meet and talk to others that are already in that field. Make sure to look for meet ups or conferences that involves the areas you want to learn more about. You could also get a “knowledge” mentor; someone that you meet and only discuss that specific field with.
Annie Lindmark, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Annie Lindmark is working with innovation and funding for innovative projects within companies and research. She has received the title as “Innovator of the year” at Universum Excellence Award and is often a key note speaker and a panelist on topics as Open innovation, Social innovation, Emerging technology and Entrepreneurship. She is a Steering Committee Member for Hack for Sweden, a government mission raised to increase the awareness and use of open data. She is also the founder of the female network W.Empowerment that aims to promote self leadership and entrepreneurship and supports many other initiatives that want to encourage more women in to entrepreneurship.