This past Friday, I participated in La Granada Elementary’s Career Day festivities alongside fifteen other working professionals. There was a pilot, a judge, a pediatrician, a counselor, a firefighter, an entrepreneur. We spoke to children – grades 1st through 5th – about our career paths, educational backgrounds, critical workplace challenges, among other topics.
I cannot express how meaningful it was to speak with the keepers of our future. What’s more, is that these future members of our workforce will likely encounter a workplace landscape unlike any we’ve witnessed to date.
Mercer anticipates 65% of current primary school children will be in jobs that don’t exist today.
The World Economic Forum conducted research that found current leading companies believe skills like complex problem-solving and creativity will be most valued as companies’ human capital needs shift and evolve.
What are the implications?
For education, we need to revisit how our educational institutions are set up, and consider a structure that invites opportunities for students to build these skills. Does this require a complete overhaul? Not necessarily. But it does require the foresight to incorporate adaptability that aligns with the dynamic nature of today’s and future workplace. This Huffpost article investigates this idea in greater detail.
For the current workplace, we need to begin to shift our expectations for our workforce and what they might bring to a job. For mid-level employees and above especially, it’s unlikely they will have the “experience” we have based our hiring processes on in recent memory – simply because many newly created jobs have not existed before.
Take a Social Media Director, for example: a very small percentage of the workforce has upwards of 10 years of direct social media experience, as social media has hardly been a primary medium for communication for that long.
This requires a mindset adaptation in how we source and screen for employees. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial we consider the whole human – an individual’s natural behaviors, skills, habits, and experiences – when evaluating candidacy. Potential for success will outweigh past performance.
How do we measure candidates for potential? An HBR explores this idea here.
Exposing our youth to the professional world will always be important. In fact, I’d argue it should be a requirement that working professionals visit a classroom each year to share their work experiences. There are, however, modifications that should be made – to educational curriculums as well as current hiring practices – especially as we move towards a business environment that has heretofore never existed.