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Author: Stephen Fetters

Countdown: Skill #10 Crucial to Your Success

Countdown: Skill #10 Crucial to Your Success

In my recent blog on the great opportunities for Freelancers arising out of the rising chaos in the world job market (http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I promised a thorough discussion of the 10 skills crucial to your success you’ll need to develop in the next few years.  The countdown is on.  Here is skill #10, Cognitive Flexibility

 

What the heck is Cognitive Flexibility?

 

Cognitive Flexibility is a term used by psychologists to describe the ability to shift quickly from one concept to another.  The easiest way to describe it is to think of switching channels on your TV.  Suppose you have a tennis match on one channel and a college football game on another.  As you switch back and forth, your mind must quickly adjust to a different set of rules, play, and circumstances.  People who are not cognitively flexible find this difficult.  It takes them a few minutes or longer before they can engage in the events happening on the new channel.

 

Why is this so important?

 

Millions of jobs are going to disappear in the next few years.  But, there will also be lots of new jobs created.  The problem is those jobs haven’t been invented yet.  What types of jobs are these?  Data analysts who can help decipher the huge amount of data generated by the internet of things.  Specialized sales reps who can explain new products and services to customers and clients.  Managers and consultants who can help steer companies through this process.

If you are a Freelancer filling one of these functions, you will need cognitive flexibility.  You may be working for more than one company.  Company A may be playing tennis.  Company B, playing football.

Even if you’re working for one company, Department A could be playing soccer, while Department B…well, you see where this is going.

 

How Can I Learn Cognitive Flexibility?

 

There are several things you can do to improve cognitive flexibility

  1. Read – Reading stimulates several areas of the brain simultaneously. The more complex the subject, the better. Add to this by making notes as you go.
  2. Play games. Lots of games. Word games, crossword puzzles, chess. There are lots of online games that will get you thinking.
  3. Make lists of different wild and wonderful ways to accomplish the same thing.
  4. Try breaking big topics down into chunks.

Keep going with these activities until you feel you can easily switch topics without losing a beat.  It’s easier than you think and can be a lot of fun.

 

The Challenge

 

Here is your challenge: The rise of technology is already eliminating jobs at an ever increasing pace.  As this trend accelerates, workers will be displaced in two directions.  Those who are unprepared will be pushed out into lower paying jobs.  Those who start now developing the 10 critical skills essential to Freelancing will find themselves positioned to succeed in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.  And…at much higher compensation.

Which one are you?

Start today.

 

What is the #1 Career Opportunity Today?

What is the #1 Career Opportunity Today?

There are huge career opportunities opening up in today’s world economy.  And…the good news is these opportunities are yours for the taking.

 

 

“What’s the catch?” you ask.  There always has to be a catch, right?

The catch is you have to be prepared to grab one of these opportunities.  Plus, you have to do the preparation work on your own.  Our education system isn’t teaching any courses on how to qualify for these jobs.

Just what is this wonderful, can’t miss opportunity?

 

Chaos

Huh?  Chaos?  Are you kidding me?

No, I’m not.   Remember, where there is chaos, there is always opportunity.  Now is no different than any time in the past.

Here’s what’s happening.  The World Economic forum estimates losses of 7.1 million jobs due to automation and technology  between 2015 and 2020.   http://bit.ly/2ubfHLc    Two-thirds of these job losses will be concentrated in office and administrative roles. Many more will be in manufacturing and production.

Further, many of the jobs that remain will need skill sets that current workers don’t have. This means many of the displaced workers will be forced into lower paying jobs.

This doesn’t sound like an opportunity to me

It is, but you have to ready to seize it.  And you have to start now.

In his great book, The End of Jobs, author Taylor Pearson notes the following:

  1. Somewhere around the year 2000, we began to transition out of the knowledge economy.
  2. There is a shift underway from knowledge to Entrepreneurship. Why? Because entrepreneurs are better equipped to deal with complex and chaotic situations
  3. The dominant institution is shifting away from corporations and towards individuals.
  4. The dominant player is no longer the corporate CEO, but moving toward the  Entrepreneur.
  5. The winners in these shifts are those who invest early in the trend.

(If you would like to buy a copy of this terrific book click on the link below)

This shift is already underway.  Forbes estimates that by 2020, 50 percent of the labor force will be Freelancers. http://bit.ly/2tfLsjq

 

How do I get in on this?

Start now.  Today.  Here are the top 10 skills listed by the World Economic Forum Freelancers and Entrepreneurs will need by 2020:

  1. Complex problem solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others.
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgment and decision making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

Rate yourself on these skills.  I can hear you now, “Crap, I’m no good at any of that stuff.”  Yes, you are!  You just don’t realize it.  And…what you don’t know, you can learn.

Like it or not, if you want to succeed in the coming years, you have to embark on a course of lifelong learning. Get good at these 10 skills and you’ll be ready for jobs that haven’t been invented yet.

I’ll be exploring this topic over the next few weeks.  I’ll be taking each of the skills shown above and exploring how you can become more proficient at them.  Just like the old David Letterman “Top Countdowns”, I’ll be starting with #10 and counting down to #1.  So, stay tuned.

 

Click here to buy Taylor Pearson’s The End of Jobs.  (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate)

How Freelancers Will Change the Economy

How Freelancers Will Change the Economy

There is no doubt.  Freelancing will be the future of the American worker.  The shift is all ready underway.  Here is a great article from Vivian Gianga at Fast Company explaining why.

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5 Major Ways Freelancers Will Change The Economy By 2040

The 9-to-5 job is dying. But what will an increasingly independent workforce mean for the economy?

BY VIVIAN GIANG4 MINUTE READ

Traditional work is dying.

By 2040, the American economy will be “scarcely recognizable,” according to a new report published by the Roosevelt Institute and the Kauffman Foundation.

We’ve seen glimpses of the looming changes already: freelancers now make up 34%–that’s 53 million people–of the U.S. workforce, according to a 2014 survey by Edelman Berland. In the next 25 years, this shift will accelerate in a major way towards entrepreneurship, independent contracting, and “peer-to-peer” work on platforms like TaskRabbit. Additionally, there will be major diversification of entrepreneurship as new platforms like crowdfunding and relocalized production become increasingly popular.

As traditional jobs wane, there will be some growing pains. “It’s going to put major strains on our public fiscal system,” says Dane Stangler, vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “We’ve built all of our massive entitlement programs–whether it’s social security for retirement or health care systems or unemployment insurance or whatever–around this notion of a fixed job.”

As we veer from this traditional work model, Stangler says the government will end up losing major payroll taxes, and that’s going to create challenges for our fiscal system unless some “very significant policy adaptations” are made.

He warns: “There’s a whole ripple effect if this is going to be an actual and growing part of the economy.”

The report, which includes insights from 30 economists, technologists, policy makers, and entrepreneurs, focuses on four main topics: the future of work, the future of technology, the future of entrepreneurship, and the future of inequality. Below are five changes to expect from America’s next economy:

1. WORK WILL CONSIST OF MANY “SHORT-TERM” ASSIGNMENTS

It used to be that having a job meant security and success for Americans. Since the recession, the idea that a good job is the centerpiece of the “good economy” was proven wrong, as people realized having a good job doesn’t equate to job security.

A career will be composed of thousands of short-term assignments spread out over a lifetime.

By 2040, the job market will consist of part-time assignments, portfolio careers, and entrepreneurialism. Instead of day-in, day-out work consisting of much of the same responsibilities, a “career, then, will be composed of thousands of [short-term] assignments spread out over a lifetime,” says the report.

In other words, workers will work on short-term assignments ranging from several days to multiple years, and will become employees for their own firms. As this becomes the norm, the vast majority of job growth in 2040 will come from small businesses.

2. THERE WILL BE MORE PLATFORMS AIMED AT MITIGATING ECONOMIC RISK

As traditional jobs–with their health insurance, retirement planning, and tax withholdings–disappear, we will see more platforms and institutions develop to help workers and their families manage exigencies and mitigate risks. These platforms will meet needs in three distinct categories, according to the report:

1. Offer new means of marketing and selling goods and services, like Etsy does with handmade crafts.

2. Provide ways for workers to learn about new assignments, to qualify for and schedule assignments, to collect payments, and to meet such needs as health care, insurance, pensions, child care, and elderly care, like Task Rabbit.

3. Offer training and education programs for workers to connect with the larger market.

3. THERE WILL BE MORE TALENT AGENCIES LOOKING FOR THE STANDARD WORKER

In the past, talent agencies were reserved for performing artists and athletes, but in the next economy, talent agencies and headhunting firms will start to play a bigger role in the lives of the everyday professionals looking to further their career. The report says:

There is not a single model or clear linear path along which the platforms of the new economy will evolve, but it is evident that the profoundly different nature of jobs and work in the emerging new economy will require profoundly different platforms for organizing work and careers.

4. SMALL-BUSINESS GROWTH WILL LEAD TO A BOOST IN WAGES

The rise in self-employment will inevitably increase wages (think: you’re no longer suffering under an underpaying employer). Additionally, as the aging population retires and with a birthrate below replacement, the labor supply will decrease, which will also play a role in boosting wages.

While immigration can help meet new labor demands, it’s unlikely to stall wage growth, according to the report.

5. EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN SUCCESS

Sure, you’ll be free from an underpaying employer, but this also means your career success relies solely on you.

The report says:

In particular, workers will be forced to think constantly about their next assignment, the skills required for that assignment, and the education and credentials required to gain those skills.

There will no longer be specific guidelines or career ladders to guarantee a career trajectory. Instead, workers will have to be savvier than their predecessors, because life has gotten much more complicated.

To be successful, individuals will have to be more entrepreneurial in thinking and planning their lives, meaning constantly selling themselves, defining one’s own work, and educating themselves for future assignments. In the next economy, work may be more lucrative and fulfilling, but the idea that you’ll be professionally rewarded because you’ve been loyal to a company will be a thing of the past.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vivian Giang is a business writer of gender conversations, leadership, entrepreneurship, workplace psychology, and whatever else she finds interesting related to work and play. You can find her on Twitter at @vivian_giang.

 

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Get Ready…the Future is Freelancing

Get Ready…the Future is Freelancing

One of the latest trends in business today is the rise of Freelancers.  If you are not preparing to join this trend, you should be.  Here is a great post from INC. explaining why.

Why Freelancing Will Be Part of Nearly Everyone’s Future


Whether you’re hiring or getting hired, plenty of evidence points to a future workforce which looks much different than it does today.

By Christina DesMarais

Contributor, Inc.com@salubriousdish

 

 

1 COMMENTS

Anchor

 

CREDIT: Getty Images

 

Much has been written about the gig economy–a future in which traditional full-time jobs are displaced by mostly short-term contracts or freelance work. But whether or not the rise of freelancing will be a bad or good thing is certainly debatableThe New York Timesrecently published an op-ed piece titled “The Gig Economy’s False Promise,” while a Wired headline reads “The Gig Economy: The Force That Could Save the American Worker?” Regardless of your feelings on the subject, plenty of evidence points to a future workforce which looks much different than it does today. That’s according to Stephen DeWitt, CEO of Work Market, an enterprise-class platform for the management of contract and freelance talent. Here are his thoughts about why freelancing will touch nearly everyone in the years to come, whether you’re looking for help, or getting hired yourself.

1. Many crystal balls are showing the gig economy to be a real thing.

More than 55 million people–about 35 percent of the U.S. workforce–did some kind of freelance work last year. Experts agree this number will only continue to climb. According to the Intuit 2020 Report (PDF) in just a few years traditional employment will no longer be the status quo. More than 80 percent of large companies say they will be significantly increasing their use of flexible workers. And, the number of contingent workers–freelancers, temps, part-time workers and contractors–will exceed 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020.

2. Companies are trying to solve for inefficiencies and labor spend.

It’s because technology advancements and consumer behaviors are accelerating. Now more than ever, it is critical for businesses to keep an agile workforce at the ready to compete in the face of digital disruption, and quickly execute powerful, unforeseen opportunities in real time. But, if a company hires 100 people who are only utilized 50 percent of the time, it’s a 50 percent waste in labor. “It’s like how the cloud completely transformed the way we buy networking and storage,” DeWitt says. “We used to buy a server and saw it was only 50 percent used. It took companies like Amazon to turn that into something they could sell.”

3. A world in which freelancers have benefits is entirely possible.

Currently, a lack of affordable health insurance means even full-time employees are paying more for–or going without–health insurance. And while freelancers have traditionally been on the hook for their own medical, dental and retirement plans, in the future these on-demand workers could have more choices. What if benefits for freelancers were funded similarly to how invisible taxes at the fuel pump pay for road construction? “Our current labor system is so outrageously inefficient, both in terms of the market as well as policy, that the elimination of a lot of that inefficiency makes the system capable of investing into the social safety net,” he says. “In a world with the right policy that is more automated and efficient, with a significant reduction in middle-men, it would be very easy to tax every transaction in a freelancer dynamic.” Ideally, he says, workers could access such revenue from a savings account for benefits, with employers also paying into the pot.

4. Getting work as a freelancer is dead simple.

Cloud-based platforms which connect freelancers with clients are widely available and inexpensive to use. “Every business will have access to every worker and it will be only separated by search.,” he says. “The middle operators that have historically defined how the workforce is accessed are going away.”

5. Millennials, the largest living generation, want flexibility.

They may engage on a full-time basis, on a six-month project, for an hour, or for a five-minute gig. These are people who have grown up with a smartphone within reach at all times. They crave immediacy, novelty and connection. Working at a company for a decade is something none of them will likely be doing. “When Millennials think about their careers the expectations are so much greater in terms of the experience, the automation, the data that’s at their fingertips,” he says. “Anything other than that is frustrating.”

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Why Your College Degree is Only the Beginning.

Why Your College Degree is Only the Beginning.

You have a 4-year college degree.  You’ve got a good job working for a company.  You are ascending the corporate ladder.  You think your future looks bright.

Think again.

Here is an inconvenient truth.  Your college degree is only the beginning. If you are to be successful in this new and changing economy, you must continue learning new things for the rest of your life.  And…you’re on your own.

Our modern Colleges and Universities are busy educating students to work at a job for some type of organization.  What happens to you if those jobs are no longer there.

There are two trends under way right now that pose huge challenges to almost every worker in the U. S. Economy.

 

Number 1: The Rise of Robots and Technology

 

The current political mantra peddled in the media today is that globalization and foreign trade are causing huge losses in the U. S. Job market.

It isn’t true.

Yes, the U. S. Economy lost manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010.  But, studies reveal that 87% of those job losses were due to improvements in productivity generated by technology.  ( http://ow.ly/IQTn30cMTh1 )

It gets worse.  According to Futurist, Thomas Frey, (  http://ow.ly/Ax3z30cOxnM  ), there are 2 billion (yes, that’s Billion) jobs disappearing by the year 2030. That represents 50% of all the jobs on the planet.  To be done by robots and new software technology.

 

Number 2: The Rise of Freelancers

 

According to Forbes Magazine ( http://ow.ly/zGDB30cOxQi  ) there are 53,000,000 freelancers in the U. S. Labor force today.  By 2020, 50% of the labor force will be freelancers.  50%!

Even big companies like IBM and NASA are starting to do this today.( http://ow.ly/pNev30cWysR)

 

Does this mean we’ll all be unemployed?

 

No!  And this is not meant to be a doomsday report.  But, it is intended to be a wake-up call.  Almost every job holder in America is going to be affected by these trends. Knowing what’s coming gives you an opportunity to be prepared. Fore warned is fore armed.

 

Here is the good news.

 

First, Robots will not replace everyone.  There will still be plenty of jobs for humans, but they are going to change.

According to a report published by the Pew Research Center (http://ow.ly/poHm30cOz7R ), there is an argument that, “many jobs require uniquely human characteristics such as empathy, creativity, judgment, or critical thinking—and that jobs of this nature will never succumb to widespread automation.”

This is where the new jobs will come from.  Those jobs don’t exist today. And…the chances are they will be taken by Freelancers.  I believe Freelancing is the career of the future.

 

How do I do That?

 

Yes, I know the idea of becoming a Freelancer can be frightening.  The first time I went out on my own it was 1983. I was totally unprepared emotionally.  I panicked when I realized I was no longer getting a paycheck.  The project didn’t go well at all. I eventually went back to working for a big company.

Today it’s different.  If you educate yourself and prepare emotionally, you should be fine. Our economy is rapidly becoming a “gig” economy.  That means you will be working from one gig to the next.

You should start by educating yourself.

 

The Advantages of Lifelong Learning.

 

Let’s start with what you are doing now.  I am going to assume you like the job and industry you are in.  You have spent years learning about it and you are good at what you do.

What are the aspects of your job or industry segment that could be automated? Think about all the repetitive grunt work that could be done by a robot or a computer software program. Think hard about the people that could be replaced. Get wild with it.

Now, what are the aspects of your job that need human contact? What about judgment?  Listening to customers, clients, or other departments?  Deciding how to improve the computer programs?  What about creativity?  Thinking up new ways for the software programs to accomplish new things? Consulting with companies on picking the latest technology to use?

How many people could be displaced?

Make a list.

Start reading!

Go to the Library. Use databases at the library to find research papers.

Go to Amazon. Get books.

Google trade magazines, white papers, and case studies.

Find MOOCs (Massive, Open, On-line, Courses) in your field and take them.

You have to become the expert in how companies in your industry are going to employ the latest technology.  Because when the changes start to come, it won’t be just the company you are working for now.  It will be every company in your industry.  If you are a Freelancer, you can hire out to lots of them.  At a very good price.

And…you can’t stop.  Freelancers have to be involved in lifelong learning.  You have to stay ahead of the curve.  You have to keep reading, keep thinking, keep interacting with other Freelancers in your field.

It is estimated now that the entire body of human knowledge is doubling every 13 months ( http://ow.ly/Tg6J30cWD7v ).  IBM estimates that in the near future, this doubling will occur every 12 minutes.

 

It’s All up to you

 

Here is your challenge.  It’s up to you. You have to do this on your own.

You must start today.  If you wait, you’ll be one of those out on the street wondering what the hell happened.

You can’t go to school for this. Our education system is woefully behind on these issues.  They don’t have classes for jobs that don’t exist today. Creating those classes could be your one of your jobs.

There are huge opportunities here.  If you start now, think now, read books and papers now, develop ideas now, you’ll be the one getting the well-paid gigs.

It’s a race.  And to the victor belongs the spoils.

 

Lifelong Learning-The Wave of the Future

Lifelong Learning-The Wave of the Future

There are massive shifts coming in the structure of our work force that will affect every one of us.  Lifelong learning is a tactic we must use in order to succeed in a rapidly changing world.  Here is a great post from The Economist explaining why.

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SPECIAL REPORT

Learning and earningLifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative

Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment, says Andrew Palmer. The faint outlines of such a system are now emerging

 Print edition | Special report

Jan 12th 2017

THE RECEPTION AREA contains a segment of a decommissioned Underground train carriage, where visitors wait to be collected. The surfaces are wood and glass. In each room the talk is of code, web development and data science. At first sight the London office of General Assembly looks like that of any other tech startup. But there is one big difference: whereas most firms use technology to sell their products online, General Assembly uses the physical world to teach technology. Its office is also a campus. The rooms are full of students learning and practising code, many of whom have quit their jobs to come here. Full-time participants have paid between £8,000 and £10,000 ($9,900-12,400) to learn the lingua franca of the digital economy in a programme lasting 10-12 weeks.

General Assembly, with campuses in 20 cities from Seattle to Sydney, has an alumni body of around 35,000 graduates. Most of those who enroll for full-time courses expect them to lead to new careers. The company’s curriculum is based on conversations with employers about the skills they are critically short of. It holds “meet and hire” events where firms can see the coding work done by its students. Career advisers help students with their presentation and interview techniques. General Assembly measures its success by how many of its graduates get a paid, permanent, full-time job in their desired field. Of its 2014-15 crop, three-quarters used the firm’s career-advisory services, and 99% of those were hired within 180 days of beginning their job hunt.

The company’s founder, Jake Schwartz, was inspired to start the company by two personal experiences: a spell of drifting after he realised that his degree from Yale conferred no practical skills, and a two-year MBA that he felt had cost too much time and money: “I wanted to change the return-on-investment equation in education by bringing down the costs and providing the skills that employers were desperate for.”

In rich countries the link between learning and earning has tended to follow a simple rule: get as much formal education as you can early in life, and reap corresponding rewards for the rest of your career. The literature suggests that each additional year of schooling is associated with an 8-13% rise in hourly earnings. In the period since the financial crisis, the costs of leaving school early have become even clearer. In America, the unemployment rate steadily drops as you go up the educational ladder.

Many believe that technological change only strengthens the case for more formal education. Jobs made up of routine tasks that are easy to automate or offshore have been in decline. The usual flipside of that observation is that the number of jobs requiring greater cognitive skill has been growing. The labour market is forking, and those with college degrees will naturally shift into the lane that leads to higher-paying jobs.

The reality seems to be more complex. The returns to education, even for the high-skilled, have become less clear-cut. Between 1982 and 2001 the average wages earned by American workers with a bachelor’s degree rose by 31%, whereas those of high-school graduates did not budge, according to the New York Federal Reserve. But in the following 12 years the wages of college graduates fell by more than those of their less educated peers. Meanwhile, tuition costs at universities have been rising.

A question of degree, and then some

The decision to go to college still makes sense for most, but the idea of a mechanistic relationship between education and wages has taken a knock. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre showed that a mere 16% of Americans think that a four-year degree course prepares students very well for a high-paying job in the modern economy. Some of this may be a cyclical effect of the financial crisis and its economic aftermath. Some of it may be simply a matter of supply: as more people hold college degrees, the associated premium goes down. But technology also seems to be complicating the picture.

A paper published in 2013 by a trio of Canadian economists, Paul Beaudry, David Green and Benjamin Sand, questions optimistic assumptions about demand for non-routine work. In the two decades prior to 2000, demand for cognitive skills soared as the basic infrastructure of the IT age (computers, servers, base stations and fibre-optic cables) was being built; now that the technology is largely in place, this demand has waned, say the authors. They show that since 2000 the share of employment accounted for by high-skilled jobs in America has been falling. As a result, college-educated workers are taking on jobs that are cognitively less demanding (see chart), displacing less educated workers.

This analysis buttresses the view that technology is already playing havoc with employment. Skilled and unskilled workers alike are in trouble. Those with a better education are still more likely to find work, but there is now a fair chance that it will be unenjoyable. Those who never made it to college face being squeezed out of the workforce altogether. This is the argument of the techno-pessimists, exemplified by the projections of Carl-Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, of Oxford University, who in 2013 famously calculated that 47% of existing jobs in America are susceptible to automation.

There is another, less apocalyptic possibility. James Bessen, an economist at Boston University, has worked out the effects of automation on specific professions and finds that since 1980 employment has been growing faster in occupations that use computers than in those that do not. That is because automation tends to affect tasks within an occupation rather than wiping out jobs in their entirety. Partial automation can actually increase demand by reducing costs: despite the introduction of the barcode scanner in supermarkets and the ATM in banks, for example, the number of cashiers and bank tellers has grown.

But even though technology may not destroy jobs in aggregate, it does force change upon many people. Between 1996 and 2015 the share of the American workforce employed in routine office jobs declined from 25.5% to 21%, eliminating 7m jobs. According to research by Pascual Restrepo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the 2007-08 financial crisis made things worse: between 2007 and 2015 job openings for unskilled routine work suffered a 55% decline relative to other jobs.

In many occupations it has become essential to acquire new skills as established ones become obsolete. Burning Glass Technologies, a Boston-based startup that analyses labour markets by scraping data from online job advertisements, finds that the biggest demand is for new combinations of skills—what its boss, Matt Sigelman, calls “hybrid jobs”. Coding skills, for example, are now being required well beyond the technology sector. In America, 49% of postings in the quartile of occupations with the highest pay are for jobs that frequently ask for coding skills (see chart). The composition of new jobs is also changing rapidly. Over the past five years, demand for data analysts has grown by 372%; within that segment, demand for data-visualisation skills has shot up by 2,574%.

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades. “Germany is often lauded for its apprenticeships, but the economy has failed to adapt to the knowledge economy,” says Andreas Schleicher, head of the education directorate of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. “Vocational training has a role, but training someone early to do one thing all their lives is not the answer to lifelong learning.”

Such specific expertise is meant to be acquired on the job, but employers seem to have become less willing to invest in training their workforces. In its 2015 Economic Report of the President, America’s Council of Economic Advisers found that the share of the country’s workers receiving either paid-for or on-the-job training had fallen steadily between 1996 and 2008. In Britain the average amount of training received by workers almost halved between 1997 and 2009, to just 0.69 hours a week.

Perhaps employers themselves are not sure what kind of expertise they need. But it could also be that training budgets are particularly vulnerable to cuts when the pressure is on. Changes in labour-market patterns may play a part too: companies now have a broader range of options for getting the job done, from automation and offshoring to using self-employed workers and crowdsourcing. “Organisations have moved from creating talent to consuming work,” says Jonas Prising, the boss of Manpower, an employment consultancy.

Add all of this up, and it becomes clear that times have got tougher for workers of all kinds. A college degree is still a prerequisite for many jobs, but employers often do not trust it enough to hire workers just on the strength of that, without experience. In many occupations workers on company payrolls face the prospect that their existing skills will become obsolete, yet it is often not obvious how they can gain new ones. “It is now reasonable to ask a marketing professional to be able to develop algorithms,” says Mr Sigelman, “but a linear career in marketing doesn’t offer an opportunity to acquire those skills.” And a growing number of people are self-employed. In America the share of temporary workers, contractors and freelancers in the workforce rose from 10.1% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015.

Reboot camp

The answer seems obvious. To remain competitive, and to give low- and high-skilled workers alike the best chance of success, economies need to offer training and career-focused education throughout people’s working lives. This special report will chart some of the efforts being made to connect education and employment in new ways, both by smoothing entry into the labour force and by enabling people to learn new skills throughout their careers. Many of these initiatives are still embryonic, but they offer a glimpse into the future and a guide to the problems raised by lifelong reskilling.

Quite a lot is already happening on the ground. General Assembly, for example, is just one of a number of coding-bootcamp providers. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by companies such as Coursera and Udacity, feted at the start of this decade and then dismissed as hype within a couple of years, have embraced new employment-focused business models. LinkedIn, a professional-networking site, bought an online training business, Lynda, in 2015 and is now offering courses through a service called LinkedIn Learning. Pluralsight has a library of on-demand training videos and a valuation in unicorn territory. Amazon’s cloud-computing division also has an education arm.

Universities are embracing online and modular learning more vigorously. Places like Singapore are investing heavily in providing their citizens with learning credits that they can draw on throughout their working lives. Individuals, too, increasingly seem to accept the need for continuous rebooting. According to the Pew survey, 54% of all working Americans think it will be essential to develop new skills throughout their working lives; among adults under 30 the number goes up to 61%. Another survey, conducted by Manpower in 2016, found that 93% of millennials were willing to spend their own money on further training. Meanwhile, employers are putting increasing emphasis on learning as a skill in its own right.

This article appeared in the Special report section of the print edition under the headline “Learning and earning

 

 

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Social Styles 5-Learning About the Amiable

Social Styles 5-Learning About the Amiable

Why are Social styles important?

 

In my previous posts on Social Styles, I have stressed the importance of understanding these styles.  Your ability to communicate with these different styles of people will make a huge difference in the profits at your bottom line.

Today, I want to discuss the last of the 4 Social Styles, the Amiable.

 

What is the Amiable Social Style?

 

Amiable are, well…amiable.  They are very people and question oriented. They are easy to get along with.  They are friendly listeners who enjoy personal contact.  They place a high priority on getting along with others.

 

Amiable have soft, pleasant voices.  Their speech is slow.  They have open and eager facial expressions.

 

They take time to establish relationships. They believe progress comes from people working together.  They like to make progress at a slow, steady pace.

 

Their natural tendencies are coaching and counseling.

 

Their motivators are seeking approval, being included as part of a group or team, and having a positive impact on others.

 

Amiables have much in common with Analyticals and Expressives, but are diametrically opposed to Drivers.

 

What does the dialogue of an Amiable sound like?

 

Remember that Amiables are ask directed.  This means you will need to ask a lot of questions.  You have to be patient.  Amiables want to build relationships first. They may not seem concerned with the time spent or deadlines.

 

Here are some other things you can expect:

  1. They want you to show them personal support.
  2. Give plenty of verbal and non-verbal feedback.
  3. They are interested in questions relating to long-term goals.
  4. They may suggest you talk to others. If they do, follow up. Not doing so may kill the relationship
  5. They want assurance as to who you are and what you believe
  6. You are expected to be open and honest
  7. You will need to sell yourself to an Amiable before they make any decision

 

How do you approach an Amiable?

 

The good news here is Amiables are easy to approach.  They are very open and friendly.

Here are several ways to approach an Amiable:

  1. Be relaxed and patient
  2. Make small talk
  3. Ask questions about their personal goals.
  4. Keep a slow, steady pace. Remember people come first.
  5. Don’t try to promote your agenda as revolutionary. Amiables like things with a proven foundation.
  6. Don’t rush your close. Let them come to their own conclusion.

 

In Conclusion.

 

The main take away from this brief outline of the 4 social styles is the need for you to learn to be flexible.  Remember Stephen Covey.  “First seek to understand, then be understood.”  Seek to understand the way your prospect communicates with the world. You will then open the door to show your prospect how you can fulfill his needs.

 

What I have presented in these posts has been the barest of outlines of these Social Styles.  To learn much, much more, I strongly urge you to click on the link below to buy Larry Wilson’s terrific book.

(Full disclosure.  I am a Powell’s Affiliate)

 

 

 

The Social Styles Handbook: Adapt Your Style to Win Trust
by Wilson Learning LibraryTrade Paperback
Powells.com
Social Styles 4-Learning About the Analytical

Social Styles 4-Learning About the Analytical

Why are Social styles important?

 

This is the 4th post in the series on Social Styles.  In my previous posts,  we discussed how essential understanding these styles is to building trust with prospects, customers, clients, employees, and partners.  Your success depends on these relationships.

Today I want to discuss the Analytical Social Style.

 

What is the Analytical Social Style?

 

The Analytical Social style is the most easily described and may be the most misunderstood of all the styles.  Think of a scientist, an engineer, or an accountant.

 

Analyticals are totally task focused and will ask a lot of questions.  They are fact gatherers and number crunchers.  They want to make sure they have all the information before they make a decision.  This tendency sometimes makes them seem indecisive because there is always more to know.

 

They are reserved. Their speech is proper, formal and deliberate.  They make few gestures.  They are good listeners.

 

They take the time to develop personal relationships.

 

They are excellent planners and organizers.

 

Analytical tend to move slowly and with precision. They tend to think the process of reaching a decision is as important as the decision itself.

 

Their goals are making the right decision in the right way. They want to enhance their reputation as a technical expert.

 

If you try to move them too quickly, it will make them very uncomfortable and may damage the relationship.

 

Analyticals have much in common with Drivers and Amiables. As you can see from the grid, they are diametrically opposed to Expressives.

 

What is dialogue with an  Analytical like?

 

Analyticals love slow, orderly, fact-filled presentations.  Here’s what you can expect:

  1. They expect you to be prepared
  2. Ask detailed fact-oriented questions
  3. Stay focused on the topic
  4. They want flexibility. Give them time to consider alternatives to what you present.
  5. Give them facts supported by data.
  6. Listen carefully and take notes. Give them time to finish and ask follow up questions.
  7. Offer confirmation of what you bring to the relationship.

 

How do you approach an Analytical?

 

Approaching an Analytical may seem difficult as they often appear remote.  But,  doing a little homework will smooth the way.

  1. Do some research before you go. Find out as much about their situation as you can.
  2. Don’t engage in a lot of small talk in the beginning.
  3. Adopt a predictable, slow, task oriented approach
  4. When you make a proposal, try to make sure it aligns with their current belief
  5. Support your proposals with a lot of facts and figures.  The more data the better.
  6. Try to state your opinions in the form of a question, “What are your thoughts about X?”

 

In Conclusion

 

As business owners, you will be dealing with all these Social Styles.  Understanding the ways to engage them will deliver amazing results in the form of profits on your bottom line.

 

Note:  The material in this blog was developed from information featured in “The Social Styles Handbook” To find out more, please click on the link below to order Larry Wilson’s great book

(Full disclosure, I am a Powell’s affiliate)

 

 

The Social Styles Handbook: Adapt Your Style to Win Trust
by Wilson Learning LibraryTrade Paperback
Powells.com
Social Styles 3 – Learning About the Expressive

Social Styles 3 – Learning About the Expressive

Social Styles are important because?

In my two previous posts ( http://ow.ly/Zfpn30bKoSK ) (http://ow.ly/1HcK30bYKwv)  we have discussed the importance of understanding social styles.  If you are engaged in business learning to successfully communicate with your employees, prospects, customers and clients is the key to your success.   Knowing your social style and the attributes of the other social styles is vital in building solid relationships.

Today, I want to discuss the Expressive style.

What is the Expressive Style?

 

Expressives are…expressive.  They are open, energetic, excited.  They love to share visions and ideas.  They love to talk about themselves. They like an audience and applause.  They love to tell people what to do.  They are people oriented rather than task.

 

They are risk-takers, competitive, creative and enthusiastic.  They love to get results through people. Relationships are very important to them. They love the exchange of ideas and want to get to know you personally.

 

Their primary motivation is recognition.  They want to stand out from the crowd

 

Expressives want to know the big picture. They want a good grasp of the situation before getting down to the details.  They want to know the essential details, but don’t care about getting too deep into them. They want to collaborate with you on things that support them.

 

Expressives have much in common with Drivers and Amiables. They are diametrically opposed to Analyticals.

What is dialogue with an Expressive like?

 

Here’s what you can expect when engaging with an Expressive.

  1. You should find out about their visions and how they expect you to help.
  2. Find out what other people need to be involved in accomplishing their vision.
  3. Expressives are usually very open about sharing information they think you need.
  4. They like a fast paced, focused discussion.
  5. They are casual about their use of time.
  6. Watch for openings in the conversation where you can slide in questions.
  7. Figure out a way to show support for their ideas and decisions.

 

What is the most effective approach to an Expressive?

 

When approaching Expressives, you need to quickly establish who you are, what you offer, and what they have to gain by working with you.

 

Other things to include are:

  1. Stories about people you both know.
  2. Share “exclusive” information
  3. Reinforce their vision and enthusiasm
  4. Take time to develop a personal relationship
  5. Leave time for socializing
  6. Talk about their goals and ideas they find stimulating.

 

 

In Conclusion

 

Learning how to effectively communicate with other social styles is a simple, yet amazing way to build trusting, solid relationships with your clients. Try it.  You’ll be stunned at the results.

 

Note:  The material in this blog was developed from information featured in “The Social Styles Handbook” To find out more, please click on the link below to order Larry Wilson’s great book

(Full disclosure, I am a Powell’s affiliate)

 

The Social Styles Handbook: Adapt Your Style to Win Trust
by Wilson Learning LibraryTrade Paperback
Powells.com
Social Styles 2-Learning About the Director

Social Styles 2-Learning About the Director

Why are Social Styles important?

 

In my previous post ( http://ow.ly/Zfpn30bKoSK ), I discussed the 4 social styles people use to communicate with each other.  We all fall into one of these styles. People in some of these styles communicate easily with one another, yet others can’t seem to communicate at all.

 

Why is it important to know these approaches?

 

Want to build meaningful relationships with your prospects, clients, and customers? Then you need to understand these styles.  More important, you need to be flexible in the way you approach people of different styles.

One thing I want to emphasize here. This is not about being manipulative in any way.  It is about learning how others engage the world.  Remember Dr. Stephen Covey’s famous dictum, “First seek to understand and then be understood.”

Today I want to discuss the social style known as the “Director”

 

What is the Directors style?

 

Directors are take charge people.  They are very task oriented and laser-focused on results. They also tend to tell people what to do and not ask a lot of questions.

Drivers have strong opinions, they are direct and to the point.  They love challenges.  They are very likely to correct, challenge, modify or add to others ideas.

Drivers tend to be impatient.  They want results quickly or at least have a well defined time line.

Relationships are secondary to Drivers.  They want to see the task defined and the plan to achieve it first.

Details are important to Drivers, but they are not much interested in every little nuance.  They do want to make sure every possibility has been covered.

Directors have much in common with Analyticals and Expressives, but are diametrically opposed to Amiables.

 

What is dialogue with a Driver like?

 

First conversations with a person are known as the dialogue stage.  This is where you will discover a person’s Social Style.  Here is what you can expect when first engaging with a Driver:

  1. They expect you to be task oriented.
  2. They want to make efficient use of their time. Keep up the pace.
  3. Ask fact-finding questions that will help you understand their priorities.
  4. They want to learn about you and how you might fit into their business. Don’t wander off into personal discussions.
  5. They want to know how your ideas can support their agenda. Remember, they want to be in control.
  6. They will let you know they want to make the final decision. They want to know the odds of success.
  7. Follow up immediately with any requests or additional information you agreed to supply.

 

How should you approach the director?

 

Approaching the Director requires a bit of a balancing act.  You need to be direct.  Don’t wander.  Yet, you need to take time to build trust as this is very important to a Director.

Other areas to include are:

  1. Be sure include a purpose statement at the beginning. Let them know why you are meeting.
  2. Focus on the Director’s ideas, goals, and interests
  3. Present facts that apply directly to them. Focus on benefits.
  4. Be prepared to provide lots of information.
  5. Don’t engage in small talk.
  6. Include a payoff statement. Let them know what you intend to accomplish in your meeting.

 

In Conclusion

 

As a small business owner, one of your greatest challenges is building relationships with your prospects, clients, and customers.  Understanding your social style and theirs will help you accomplish this with amazing ease.  I urge you to find out as much as you can about this subject by reading Larry Wilson’s great book “The Social Styles Handbook”. 

Just click on the following link (Full disclosure, I am a Powell’s affiliate):

The Social Styles Handbook: Adapt Your Style to Win Trust
by Wilson Learning LibraryTrade Paperback
Powells.com

Note: This blog was developed from information presented in  “The Social Styles Handbook”.

 

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