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5 Ways to future-proof your career

BY: SGI|18 June 2019
BLOG| My future career

Back in the days of our parents, the average worker could expect to spend 15 to 20 years at a company before retiring with a great pension fund and a gift for their years of service. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), also referred to as Industry 4.0, upon us, things have changed significantly. According to Forbes and Career Change Advice, the average millennial will change careers between five and seven times.


The ways we work will change too. Which is why it’s important that no matter what career you’re currently in – whether you are a full-time employee or part of the gig economy – you need to prepare yourself for a world where most of our current job functions will be automated by technology.


At Stellenbosch Graduate Institute (SGI), we believe that lifelong learning is for everyone. The World Economic Forum has said that continuous learning is critical to remaining relevant and future-proofing a career. With youth unemployment at an incredibly alarming 55.2%, young people need the opportunity to both enter the workforce and stay in it. Here are five ways to ensure skills are digital-age ready and future-fit:



Many people still don’t understand how to use technology correctly to help with their workloads and their careers. In the future, myriad roles will be completely automated, meaning lots of people will find themselves seeking new occupations. That said, many jobs will still require human input. By increasing your knowledge of technology – think artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), assistive technology and robotics – you’ll be able to remain at the forefront of digital transformation.



Our entire premise at SGI is to encourage continuous education – and there’s no better time to start delving into different areas of learning than in the 4IR. The ability to learn is critical now and in the future. While the onus is on each of us to seek ways to keep learning, we can also encourage employers and HR to see the return-on-investment of training opportunities for employees. In fact, if you’re considering joining a company, a key question to ask is how it actively keeps upskilling its team.



We’ve all heard the adage that networking is an integral part of building your professional career. But this doesn’t just mean building connections within your company. You should also look to people outside your organisation. Both types of connections can provide invaluable support as the world of work changes, pointing you in the right direction to learn new skills, technologies and strategies that will help you move up in your career. If you’re shy or unsure of how to approach people, why not ask a senior team member if they have time for an informational interview? This will provide you with an opportunity to ask them questions about their role and job functions, helping you decide whether it’s the correct path for you.



Soft skills like confidence, interpersonal skills, ethics and integrity will be some of the most sought-after human skills once most robotic and repetitive work tasks become automated. These are the skills humans have mastered and robots cannot emulate. Capacities like our ability to collaborate, think creatively, problem-solve and empathise have been named by the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn as the top capabilities for the jobs of the future. For more on this, read our blog on how to upskill and reskill yourself to remain an employable asset.



According to the Huffington Post: Humans don’t like change. Yet, with Industry 4.0, disruption and change will be the only constant in the world of work. It’s already happening at a very rapid rate, which means both employers and employees need to get used to a lack of stability. This is especially true of the gig economy and workers referred to as “job-hoppers” – those who don’t stay at one company for too long. Additionally, with ever-changing technology, permanent employees will also start to feel insecure about their abilities. Whatever field you’re in, whether you’re a permanent employee, freelancer or ‘side hustler’, it’s never been more important to continue to upskill and future-proof your career.


For more information on how SGI can help you live your best life in the digital age, visit our course pages.


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