The world of work is constantly changing. Sometimes these changes happen because of monumental shifts in the way work is performed (like the Industrial Revolution) or because of things like financial crises, war and political decision-making.
Some changes are gradual, some are immediate. Some are beneficial, others can be less so.
While we may tend to view our times as some kind of culmination or end point of change, the last few decades have certainly seen major shifts in how the workforce operates, and it looks as though these changes are likely to become pronounced and rapid in the future.
So what does this dynamic professional landscape mean for your students? And how can they secure a rewarding career within it?
The drivers of change
First, let’s take a look at some of the key factors influencing transformation in the workplace today.
Arguably, the three primary drivers of change are:
Flexibility changes how careers are generally defined. It’s unlikely that your students will be ‘one-company’ employees. In the past, the prospect of entering a company at a junior level and staying with that company for your whole working life, hopefully with some promotions along the way, was seen as the traditional mode of working.
Nowadays, workers are much more likely to work for a number of businesses across their career. It’s also highly likely that your students will work for multiple clients simultaneously, using their expertise on individual projects rather than as a permanent employee.
The primary reason for this is technology. Communication and other digital technologies are a part of our everyday lives, and have opened up possibilities in work that were unimaginable before. Technology not only impacts how industries work – with everything from anaesthesia to zookeeping using data and technology – but it also opens up collaboration and employment opportunities across the world (without having to travel overseas).
This globalisation of work, with many businesses enmeshed in a global supply and demand network, means that it will continue to be a major factor in determining workers’ methods and focus. Students who are able to understand and work within a global framework, who have an appreciation of cultural difference and who can adapt to different markets will be much sought after.
Making the most of change
So how do students position themselves to take advantage of opportunities in this future workplace?
Well, first, a dynamic environment needs dynamic individuals. If your students can develop attributes such as problem-solving, confidence, communication and an innovative mindset, they’ll be well-positioned to work effectively across multiple employers and different job roles. They will be agile – and so in demand. These skills are embedded into all degrees at Charles Sturt University (CSU).
As change continues (and often at an increasingly rapid pace), staying up to date with knowledge and skills will also be key for your students to succeed in their chosen career. Therefore, upskilling will be an essential ingredient of any person’s career trajectory. Lifelong learning is good in and of itself, but in a challenging employment landscape it can be crucial.
Students can upskill by proceeding through increasingly advanced forms of degree, from bachelor’s to master’s to a doctorate. They don’t need to do them consecutively; students can return to resume their studies at any time during their career to take the next step. Upskilling can also mean studying a single subject that focuses on their area of work or a subject that would then offer better employment prospects. Or it could involve building on their work experience and getting a formal qualification that recognises their expertise.
It’s important to have at least a working knowledge of technology –increasingly so in the future. There are, of course, subject areas that place technology front and centre. These include:
But beyond that, almost every contemporary degree integrates technology into its subject matter and its delivery. For instance, most CSU degrees can be studied online, which can be very useful in terms of combining study with work.
From exploring how drones and data can influence agricultural yield or how digital communication can provide medical diagnoses in remote areas, to using technology to make information more accessible or classroom activities more engaging, tech is at the heart of modern learning. And that includes the actual practicalities of learning, with online study increasingly available and of the highest quality.
Technology also opens up a global learning experience. Online students learn alongside peers from all over the globe, exposing them to a diverse range of ideas, systems and cultures.
And degrees actively encourage a global outlook. For instance, CSU’s Bachelor of Paramedicine is taught by academics from around the globe who have expertise in different types of medical services, meaning students not only gain knowledge about Australian state and national paramedical practices and policy, they also learn about overseas services.
Such a global outlook also opens up the opportunity for students to gain practical experience overseas. Global study, work placements and volunteering trips are viable parts of many university degrees.
All these facets of university study mean that when they graduate, students have the knowledge, experience and confidence to take their career wherever they want around the world.
Embracing the future
Change is inevitable, and that applies to the workplace as much as any other aspect of life. But it doesn’t have to be a cause for concern. The dynamic workplace of the future is one with countless new opportunities that your students, with the right knowledge and skills, can embrace. And by helping students become adaptable, responsive and innovative, CSU can set them up for success.
Get in touch with our team to see how CSU can enhance your student’s future career.