Throughout history, people have often had “roles” on some level. The modern concept of jobs, however, goes back to only a couple of centuries ago and the industrial revolution.
But for the past 200 years or so, jobs have evolved into careers, and become a source of meaning and purpose in our lives. If we want to understand the evolution of jobs into careers we need to take a look at history. This will, in turn, help us get a better picture of the future of the career landscape.
Liberation from a Fixed Destiny
In the past, the hierarchical model of society was extremely tight. If you were born outside of aristocracy you almost had no chance of improving your life conditions. But the industrial revolution opened up the possibility of progress to the masses.
After WWII, baby boomers created a lot of new industries, and the middle classes were born. The idea of “career” really became a thing, with the emergence of this new class.
So, in fact, the concept of “career”, is very new in comparison to the long history of humanity. And yet, today it’s such a huge aspect of our lives.
Now, why is this important? Because in the coming years the middle classes, as we know, are likely to disappear. And this is important whether you want to run a business or you if you simply want to have a successful job in any industry. If middle classes are affected, the concept career, as we know, might also go away.
21st Century and the Birth of Influencers
In the first quarter of the 21st century, the career landscape is highly driven by the start-up culture and the internet. This new culture is less hierarchical and flatter. It also requires a higher level of flexibility than what you get in traditional organisations.
Another hallmark of the modern career landscape is the birth of micro-businesses and freelance workers. There are many variations of these new career paths. One of those is the “influencer” culture.
Digital Economy and the Future of Work
Every day, we all wilfully hand in our data to giant technology firms. This give them the power to define the future of the career landscape through the proliferation of the digital economy. Giant tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook have already disrupted so many small businesses. This trend will continue and it will get harder and harder to for small businesses to survive.
Yes, there will still be freelancers, influencers and small business, but the competition will get harder, as Artificial Intelligence becomes more sophisticated.
So if you want to be successful in the future you have to think about developing skill and abilities that artificial intelligence can’t do better than humans.
Remember, although, new technologies will create new jobs, the speed of these transitions is increasing and humans can’t always keep up. This is already happening. For example, there are so many people in marketing jobs today who have not adapted to the digital landscape.
Just over the past five years, I’ve already seen a big revolution even in my own industry as a filmmaker. Many camera operators and sound engineers have lost job opportunities since smartphones and DSLR cameras have made it easier for corporate cheap content.
There are still opportunities out there, but they are fewer and they go to the best of the best. Average workers won’t be needed anymore. Most average work can be automated or replaced by cheap overseas labour.
In the future, if you are an average designer, average marketer, or average in anything else, you will be pushed to the sidelines. Clients will go after two distinctly different types of products and services. Either they want a cheaper solution powered by AI, or they will go after unique qualities and super high touch, with a strong emotional element, that can only be done by highly skilled humans, such as emotional intelligence, critical thinking, contextual creativity, and mindfulness.
About the author
Somi Arian is a tech philosopher, international speaker, entrepreneur, award-winning filmmaker, LinkedIn Top Voice among UK influencers and author of Career Fear (and how to beat it). Her work focuses on the impact of technology on society at large, the future of work and digital marketing.
She has given talks to industry leaders from organizations as diverse as the BBC, The Economist, Marie Claire, The Guardian, Amazon, HSBC, Virgin Atlantic and American Express. Her 2018 documentary The Millennial Disruption has been nominated for a dozen international film festival awards, winning the Worldfest Houston Silver Remi – Best Documentary Short Film (2019) and Idyllwild International Festival – Best Directory Documentary (2019).
If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTheCity has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.