Develop high-level job skills to remain employed and employable

Automation will replace 73 million American jobs in less than 10 years and the skills that will keep you employed and employable into the future are not the typical skills that are taught in a conventional School curriculum, says Rio Rocket

The future has already arrived

There’s a massive gap in social economics where robotics are replacing low skill jobs.

So you may be thinking, well I don’t work a low skill job so this isn’t going to affect me. That thinking is theoretically correct and would apply to the socio-economic landscape of the past. But as already stated, the future has arrived at your doorstep and it won’t bother to knock or wipe its feet on the mat before coming in.

We’ve been hearing about artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous technology for decades. It’s been portrayed in media such as The Jetsons and 2001: A Space Odyssey as far back as the 1960s. Rosie the Robot and the sentient computer HAL are iconic examples of autonomous technology in popular culture. Well today in 2021, computerisation and automation are already in play, already eliminating many low skill jobs and even some medium skill jobs. Many people who were once always employed and always employable are now shaking in their boots. It’s projected that automation will replace 73 million American jobs in less than 10 years from now, maybe five. 35% of the adult population could permanently be out of a job.

So if you’re not working a low skilled job today then why will this affect you? The mid skilled workers and jobs are being compressed into the bottom and the higher skilled workers are making even more than they ever did. Your medium skill job of today may possibly be considered a low skill job in five to ten years. So how do you counter this autonomous offensive? The answer, quite simple in theory, is to improve your skills.

The skills that will keep you employed and employable now and into the future are not the typical skills that are taught in a conventional school curriculum in most educational institutions.

In fact, most higher learning institutions may also fall short of teaching the executive-level skills. The reason is because many of these skills cannot be taught effectively in large classroom settings. They are specific to the person and often require one-on-one skills evaluation and customised coaching. Even the average in-house job training programme won’t cover the high-level skills that will place their employees in position for the C-Suite.

So what’s the c-suite and why should you care?

The C-Suite refers to executive-level employees within a company. C-Suite executives are titles you’re probably familiar with and probably want attached to your name.

CEO: Chief Executive Officer. Everyone wants to be the boss right?

CFO: Chief Financial Officer. An executive responsible for managing the finances, record-keeping, data analysis, and financial reporting of an organisation.

COO: Chief Operating Officer. An executive responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions within an organisation.

CIO: Chief Information Officer. An executive responsible for overseeing the people, processes and technologies within an organisation’s IT segment.

CXO: Chief Experience Officer. An executive responsible for the public’s overall experience of an organisations products and services.

There’s a host of other C-level titles to describe the cluster of an organisation’s most important senior executives. Together they form the C-suite and are considered the most important and influential individuals in an organisation. They all possess a high level of professional experience, soft skills, hard skills, leadership skills and visionary perspectives in order to make sound management decisions. In addition, their well-developed networking skills help them build new relationships both for their organisation and in their personal lives. As a reward, they are compensated with high level boardroom salaries and high-level compensation packages.

Life is good in the C-Suite.

If that’s not enough reason for you to care, then refer back to earlier data which indicates that medium skill jobs are being compressed into low skill jobs. The fact is that most people have medium skill jobs. Those may soon be categorised as low skill jobs and paid accordingly. The high skill positions are making more than they ever have. This should be all the motivation you need to set your sights on the C-Suite.

What organisations are looking for in c-suite executives and high skilled positions

In order to move up the corporate ladder and break through the glass ceiling there are five major groups of skills that must be developed for executive-level consideration. These skills will keep you employed and employable into the future.

1Understanding your strengths: you must focus on your strengths and the things you’re already good at and not those you don’t have a natural aptitude for. This allows you to view yourself through a strengths-based lens and not a deficit lens. Most executives have taken a strengths inventory at some point in their careers to identify their top strengths. Developing their strengths and then applying them intentionally enabled them to be considered for C-level positions.

2Executive presence: this is the leadership concept that asks, “Can you command a room?” When you walk into a room two things can happen. Either no one will notice or the crowd will part as you enter. These qualities of presence and gravitas are common among most executives who can without a doubt, command almost any room.

3Adaptability: not only do you have to be able to command a room but you must also be able to read the room as well. Being highly adaptable and having strong critical thinking skills is viewed as one of the most valuable assets in a high skill employee. A professional problem solver will always be employable and can never be replaced by an AI or automation process.

4Passion and authenticity: you must always be your authentic self and the best version of yourself is the version that displays how passionate you are at what you do. This quality is about discovering what you love, thought leadership, self-confidence and being unapologetic. Passion and authenticity is the engine that makes you – you.

5Networking: most C-level executives have reached their position by a combination of what they know and who they know. They have taken everything they have learned through their career and become master networkers. They know how to spot quality networking opportunities, make deep long-lasting connections and follow-up accordingly.  Most people who get hired by an organisation at the executive level already knew someone at the organisation where they were hired.

Is my industry being affected?

Automation is affecting nearly every industry today. That includes retail, hospitality and leisure, telecom and IT, legal, media, PR and marketing, the medical industry, finance and accounting, customer service and support and other help services, analysts and clerks, education, transportation, project management and others.

Even the creative fields that rely purely on human creativity haven’t gone unscathed. Animation and CGI are replacing actors, performers and singers. I AM AI by Taryn Southern, was the first album to be entirely composed by AI. The album was composed by an artificially intelligent music composer, producer and performer called Amper. This didn’t happen yesterday. This happened back on August 21, 2017.

The 2019 film Gemini Man created by Life of Pi director, Ang Lee stars Will Smith and features a digital clone of his character created in RealD 3D. The digital clone basically looks like a younger version of Will Smith similar to the de-aging effects used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to create younger versions of Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr. It looks similar but it’s a completely new technology. Based on previous performances of Will Smith, they built a digital version of him from the ground up to behave like a younger, more naive version of himself that resulted in an independent, artificially intelligent actor. 

Take action

So I’ll ask again. How do you counter that type of technology? Identify your strengths, develop your five pillars of success and hone your high level skills. Where the middle class and medium skill jobs once were is now the gap. On one side is the low skill, low paid, overworked bottom, and on the other side is the highly skilled, highly paid top who remain employed and employable. If you’re seeking motivation for skills development just ask yourself what side do you want to be on.

Rio Rocket is a multi-hyphenate film, television, and voice actor who has a recurring role on the ABC TV Series For Life and motivational spokesperson for Lowe’s Companies.

He also hosts the career growth and professional development podcast Design Your Decade. In the realm of digital marketing, he’s a highly accomplished graphic artist, marketing strategist, and branding expert. He believes in shattering all limitations of what humanity is capable of.

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