How to Prepare for the Changing Nature of Australia’s Employment Landscape

With car manufacturing having officially left Australia’s list of industries (a hot topic in my household), we are all becoming increasingly aware of the changing nature of Australia’s employment landscape. What I find interesting about all of these changes is that right now many of the organisations I work with tell me how difficult it is to find candidates who want to stay for the long haul, and many recruitment agencies I work with tell me it’s a candidate short market. For the first time in over 40 years organisations are having to say to potential employees ‘this is why you need to work for us’ instead of just advertising roles and expecting an abundance of high quality candidates to apply.

Risks from the Robot Revolution for Australia’s Economy

And yet we are also hearing that the introduction of automation across a number of industries means that robots may be replacing roles traditionally filled by humans. In this Guardian Australian article by Greg Jericho, he explores why more robots in the workforce might be good for economic growth but will be bad news for equality. This is a complex and ongoing discussion that requires our attention. But it should not lead us to panic and we should do what we can right now to ensure we are putting our best foot forward in terms of securing opportunities for ourselves, and our children.

Think Bespoke works with clients in the mid stages of their career, and Marina and I are seeing the biggest changes occurring in industries that are experiencing redundancies. Most recently reported redundancies in Australia have been at Optus, Telstra, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and National Australia Bank (NAB).

The Employment Situation in Australia

Again, referencing one of my favourite news sources, Guardian Australia (and yes, I am a subscriber, are you?), in this article by Greg Jericho from June 2018, he warns of a “nationwide, all-encompassing issue . . . one that needs to be addressed if all of us are to start seeing our wages grow by more than they have over the past three years.” The “unemployment rate, excluding the mining states, of 5.1%  . . is as low as it has been since February 2011 . . and yet the relative underemployment rate of 8.1% is higher than it has been anytime before the middle of 2014.”

While there will be exceptions to this trend in some industries, the point is that times, they are a changing, and so my question to you, and the reason for today’s article is “How can you respond to these changes?”.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Prepare

If you are feeling unsettled about the future, and are unsure what your next career move should be, here are some suggestions to give you a stronger sense of direction. I encourage you to be curious and to focus less on ‘what role do I want to do’ and more on ‘what type of work and industries spark my interest’. It was Dr Samuel Johnson, an English writer, who said “Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect”.

1. Stay Informed

There is so much information at your fingertips and in your local area.

  • Read reliable news and authoritative blogs and industry journals
  • Listen to podcasts from your favourite authors or thought leaders
  • Follow relevant YouTube channels e.g. TED
  • Enrol in courses and educational programs
  • Attend conferences in real life and online

2. Engage on LinkedIn & Twitter

There are so many conversations to be had online. While I do not believe you can live on a digital diet alone, LinkedIn offers many ways for you to engage with experts across the globe, by reading their LinkedIn articles and updates, and starting conversations in LinkedIn messaging and via groups. LinkedIn provides the opportunity for you to tailor your newsfeed and the more you engage with content of interest, by liking, commenting or clicking through, the more LinkedIn will serve up content it thinks you’d like to read.

Twitter can also be a great source of information, and you can filter your newsfeed using hashtags that will help you discover trending news and keep you informed of topics you’re interested in learning more about. I also encourage you to connect your channels and invite your Twitter connections to be in your LinkedIn community.

3. Help Form the Future

If you have particular interests in emerging industries, do what you can to get involved. Consider skills-based volunteering, and nonprofit board service. Choose issues and organisations you are passionate about.  If you approach this with the view of being a life long learner and being open to where new knowledge may take you, I am confident you will be in a much stronger position to prepare for the changing nature of Australia’s employment landscape.