How to Plan Your Career Around Digital Disruption

Regardless of how hard we try, the reality is that the world of work is changing on a global scale. Existing job roles will shift to meet the demands of a new work environment, and these shifts will vary across industries, businesses, and employees.

What we don’t know now, we need to know tomorrow, and what we do know now, we need to use to help us get to tomorrow.

There is a lot of discussion around this topic to date and for many, they already have an understanding of the implications of digital disruption to their careers. But for many others, there are still a lot of questions; a lot of unknowns, and a lot of possibilities. Taking digital disruption into account as part of career planning is imperative, and something that should be done today in preparation for tomorrow.

Here are some great steps you can take to analyze where you are at now before you start to make any decisions or develop your own career plan.

Analyze your existing role

Automation can be scary, however, by understanding what aspects of your current role might be automated and what might not be, you will have a greater understanding of where to focus your development. How much of your role is customer-facing? How much of your role requires non-linear problem-solving? How much of your role is manual and requires a level of human interaction, which cannot be planned or necessarily measured?

How many emotional engagements are needed in your role?

We do know that robots are being trained to think like humans, but what we have over robots is our level of empathy and emotional connection with other humans. How much of your role requires a high level of human interaction and emotional engagement? How social are you in your job, and how aware do you need to be of the content of your work and the wider client environment, to be able to make social decisions?

How often do you interact with others?

Self-service is a growing trend in the retail industry. The question is, how much social interaction do we as humans really need to make a sales decision? Grocery shopping on one hand is an autonomous activity; you will select what you like with minimal interaction with an independent adviser. Beyond this, how often do we make a fashion-based sales decision without some independent guidance? I do believe that businesses will look to automation to minimize operational overhead costs. I also believe these brands will look first to understand consumer behavior and make these types of decisions based on how engaged they need to be with their client base to make the sale. Analyzing these types of situations can help you understand where you may wish to focus your career planning.

How much do you have to sell or negotiate in your role?

There are some levels of interaction that can be automated, but there are many others that do not follow a linear problem-solving process and are therefore much harder to automate. Take for example the negotiation of a house sale, car sale, or supplier contract. The person-to-person interaction required in numerous sales transactions is something that is really important to businesses and individuals in obtaining success and winning a deal. Such interactions can be volatile; decisions can easily be made and then changed at the last minute. These interactions again are hard to handle with an automated process and require a great deal of human management.

There is no doubt that we are reaching a point of transition and change across all careers; the level of digital disruption that may occur in your own industry is something that you must be aware of. Before developing or enhancing your career plan, analyze where you feel you are at with your role and assess what changes may occur. Everyone will find something different, and the outcome will also vary depending on what each individual wishes to seek in their career.

The most important is not to be scared by change. The negative conversations surrounding these changes talk about circumstances that we have no ability to confirm; for this reason, stay in front of the change and realize it might happen to achieve greater control for your own career destiny.

By Rebecca Fraser

Rebecca Fraser is a Leader of learning and development for organisations and individuals. She is highly recognised for her contribution to the industry and for her work in the media providing information on modern day job search strategies. She is the author of ‘How to get a job in the 21st century’, her newest release on job search and resumes.