What will the professional world be like in the future and what skills will be required? The article addresses this question. Following Svenja Hofert *, the four main occupational profiles of the future are described below: the manager, the specialist, the communicator and the initiator of ideas and impulses.
Svenja Hofert states in her book that in the future there will probably only be four different job profiles – based on the different tasks and tasks actually carried out. In doing so, she draws on earlier research by Jeremy Rifkins, Peter Drucker and Peter Glotz.
In today’s knowledge society, knowledge forms the most important basis. A distinction can be made between directly applied, practical knowledge and intellectual knowledge. The first results in activities as makers and implementers – people who know how to do it. Intellectual knowledge is used by conceptually active people and strategists in order to know what is necessary and possible.
Since expertise has an ever shorter half-life, it is all the more important to know how to learn. On the one hand, knowledge of processes and relationships, of functions and methods is valuable. On the other hand, the soft skill knowledge helps (“how you think entrepreneurially, solve conflicts, reach compromises, win negotiations, convince people, implement changes and build networks”). Soft skill knowledge is particularly important in combination with experience and previous success.
The four different career types of the future can now be derived from these knowledge-specific considerations:
The 4 career types of the future
Project and departmental career: The Manager
- Uses methodological and process knowledge
- How do I do something and how are processes connected?
- Manages teams and processes, coordinates processes
- Rather detached from employee responsibility (that would be more of a “leader”)
- Leader: visionary, leads people
- Manager: organizes processes, projects, processes responsibly, not his own assigned employees but a specialist team of experts, leadership through communication
- There are two distinctions within the manager:
- Project manager / cross-divisional coordinator: works across divisions
- Area organizer: organizes, administers and manages a business area
Area-bound expert career: The Specialist
- Uses industry, process and/or specialist knowledge
- What do I know?
- Advises, trains and works with his knowledge
- Has more expertise than others in a certain area
- More frequent changes of position expand the know-how
- Rarely young professionals, you develop and discover your specialty
- Searches consciously for suitable specialization that offer perspectives
- Specialization can and must change and adapt to needs
- Must always keep knowledge up to date and watch the market
- Specialists are usually tied to one area
- In a larger company they have better chances as a specialist than e.g. as a manager
- Can demand almost any salary depending on his knowledge
- The company must follow him in terms of working conditions
- Comfort in life: does not have to be on site, can work from anywhere
Cross-departmental generalist career: The Communicator
- Uses communication skills, language and soft skill specialists
- How do I mediate?
- In all departments of a company – especially in customer contact, in employee relationships and relationships with the public
- Task examples: in corporate social responsibility, knowledge management, writing, customer advisors, account managers, team building and restructuring (base on the relationship and understanding level), moderating events, informing staff / the public, team cohesion, customer satisfaction, communicating management decisions
- Often a member of the staff (reports to management, has equal rights to corporate divisions)
- Basic understanding of a specific subject area is helpful
- At the moment this role is still attributed to the project manager and there are no explicit job titles, but the activities are reflected in the tasks
Creative career: The Initiator of ideas and impulses
- Uses ideas and creative ways of thinking
- What can I do differently?
- Knowing what is coming, what will be different, what will be in demand now and in the future
- Lateral thinkers, sets trends, determines social developments
- Tends to avoid larger commercial companies, at most they invite them to events or use them in marketing
- “Creative class”: artists, authors, moderators, researchers, scientists, software developers, technology specialists, advertisers, designers, architects, style consultants, mental trainers, coaches, resourceful doctors, forward-thinking journalists, creative tax consultants, etc.
- One or more jobs as a lone fighter / freelancer / entrepreneur
- Less career-oriented than working out of interest, official qualifications are secondary – rather convinces with success and experience
The “leaders” described above are added as managers. They make decisions and motivate employees. Their skills come into play when it comes to change. However, they are disruptive if the current status is to be maintained. The role of the “leader” is therefore needed occasionally in the work environment rather than permanently.
Where are you most likely to see yourself and what could that mean for you?
* From “The Career Maker Book – Successful in the Future Job World” (published by Eichborn AG, 2009, pp. 77-89).