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How to prepare for the future of work in a digital era

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by Charlotte gurney

The world of work has changed significantly over the past decade - even in the last few years - and this evolution is likely to continue. The digital age that we are now in has already taken us into new territory where digital skills are crucial and being able to work with technology is essential. With automation predicted to affect 50% of jobs in the future and a range of new skills required to adapt and thrive as conditions change there is a lot to prepare for when it comes to the future of work in a digital era. So where do we start?

Upskilling is essential

Only around 20% of people feel like they have received digital skills training and support. While it’s crucial for individuals to be responsible for extending their own abilities and skills there are also benefits to businesses in having workers who are comfortable with technology and have a full range of skills to apply to the job at hand. A digitally literate workforce is likely to have a big impact on results for many organizations in the future and so is well worth investing in now. For both employers and employees there are a number of key areas to focus on where digital skills are concerned.

The use of collaborative workplace platforms. Especially since the beginning of the pandemic, digital platforms have suddenly become central to the way that many businesses function. Even as we all come out of lockdown being able to comfortably, and effectively, use these platforms is going to be key.

Understanding internal applications and systems. This could be something as simple as the email system in use or CMS platforms for marketing teams.

The security aspect. From the use of anti-virus software to understanding how to send documents securely and recognize the signs of a security breach, this is an essential part of the process of being prepared for work in the digital age.

Data handling. The idea that data is now more valuable than gold is going to have plenty of resonance in the future world of work as it continues to change the way we work, interact, shop and communicate. Understanding how to collect and store data, as well as the rules that surround its handling - such as the GDPR - are all key skills to acquire.

Digital design and content creation. Whether content is internal or external it will need to be effective in communicating vision, data and information - this is increasingly going to be much less the responsibility of an individual team and a skill that all employees need to have.

Inequality issues

In the future 90% of jobs are going to require digital skills and with automation affecting so many roles it’s going to be key for employees to have the skills to work with technology and to adapt as it changes. Where this doesn’t happen inequality issues could begin to arise as certain disadvantaged groups become increasingly isolated from employment options due to a lack of appropriate skills.

Upskilling is going to be an essential part of the process of preparing for the future in work in the digital age. This is something that every individual and organization needs to grasp now so as to avoid situations of inequality and lack of access in the future.