Transferable abilities across industries and professions

  • James Sherbon
  • 26 July 2018

One view of where we are headed in the workplace is an enlightened lifetime of portfolio careers where our skills are transferable across a range of disciplines and professions. 

However, an inarguable fact is the workforce is on the cusp of momentous change because of a range of factors most recently discussed in DeakinCo.'s report Enabling the future of work (skills and strategies for learning and development).

Aimed at the nation's learning and development professionals, the report examines some of the relevant trends shaping the future of work including the rise of digital, the rise of human experience, particularly the rise of customer experience, the rise of human or soft skills, and the need for agility in a fast-changing world.

These trends also were covered at the recent Digital Economy Skills round table where participants included group executive human resources at Telstra Alexandra Badenoch; LinkedIn managing director Australia and New Zealand Matt Tindale; national leader people and change at KPMG Stefanie Bradley; the Boston Consulting Group's global practice leader, digital and technology transformation in the public sector, Miguel Carrasco; and the director of small business and enterprise, Deakin Business School, Bruce Billson.

An excerpt features below.

On the rise of digital:

Matt Tindale: I don't think it's just the entry level jobs at risk. When you look at what machine learning and AI learning will be good at, it is analysing vast waves of data. Think of jobs you associate with that including doctors, lawyers, accountants and I think that it's not just the entry level, it's the potential to affect the whole economy.

On the rise of human or soft skills:

Stefanie Bradley: Leading change is very different to managing change. And the skill sets required are different than just being "I'm an operational leader, I'm a technical leader or I'm a leader at a business unit". There is a capability around storytelling because the workforce is wanting connection, they are wanting purpose, and they are wanting to understand the link between what's happening in their organisation, to what's happening around the business strategy.

On agility:

Alexandra Badenoch: I think a lot of people think agile means anarchy, but agile actually brings a very detailed and defined process to the way you work, the roles you have, and the interrelationships [in your organisation] … agile is about teaching people how to work and ways of looking at problems because [although we have an idea] we're not exactly sure what the future will look like.

On reskilling:

Alexandra Badenoch: [At Telstra] it is actually defining whole new skill sets and it is a balance of technical and soft [skills]. Soft is absolutely critical, but we have to have this really strong eye on new deep domain technical skills as well … We have done detailed work on actually really understanding workforce capability today. And what component of this skill is transferable because it may be that I have 60 per cent skill overlap [or transferable skill]. Agile is about accelerating the closing of that gap.

We're actually writing new skills that don't exist on the market … what we're trying to drive is this constant consumption [and asking] how do we create that true continuous learning curious organisation that is consuming and changing, and evolving every day?

This article was originally published by The Australian Financial Review on 26 July 2018.