Jobs 3.0: How You Can Prepare For The Future Of Work

I've spent the past five years studying the future of work, and I've come to believe that each and every one of us has to rethink our careers in order to adjust to the new work space, or what I call Jobs 3.0. 

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The fourth industrial revolution is sweeping across the globe, bringing major changes to the way we all work. And as if that weren’t enough, the COVID-19 crisis has further disrupted the labor market, distributing workers far and wide, changing expectations, and shifting communication patterns.  

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More changes are just over the horizon. Are you ready? What will work look like in two years, or in five years? What kinds of jobs will be available? What kinds of qualifications will we need to find work?  

These are all the kinds of questions that you should be asking yourself right now. It’s no exaggeration to say that if you don’t start planning for your future job now, then you may not have much of a future right now

I’ve spent the past five years studying the future of work, and I’ve come to believe that each and every one of us has to rethink our careers in order to adjust to the new work space, or what I call Jobs 3.0. 

What Is Jobs 3.0? 

I developed the phrase Jobs 3.0 to describe the new labor ecosystem. The jobs of tomorrow will require workers who are adaptable, curious, and capable of competing on a global stage. 

Instead of filling just one narrowly defined role in a company, employees will need to be nimble enough to address rapidly changing situations. This means cultivating both hard skills (technical skills, especially) and soft skills (like problem-solving, flexibility, and interpersonal skills).  

We can also expect to see a huge increase in freelancing, short-term employment, and other features of the gig economy. The ongoing expansion of the creator economy means that functions like content creation, design, and social media will also likely be outsourced to freelancers, rather than handled in-house. 

Workers in the new economy need to be prepared to constantly update their skills. It’s no longer enough to learn a few useful skills and slide into a long-term job. Today’s workers will need to keep upskilling and reskilling so that they stay relevant. 

Why 3.0? 

This isn’t the first time that the nature of work has changed

In the 18th century, the first industrial revolution (the shift to steam-powered machinery) moved countless workers off of farms and into cities, where they worked in factories. The second industrial revolution (the transition to electric-powered machinery) accelerated that trend. We’ll call the jobs of that period Jobs 1.0. 

The third industrial revolution, in the 20th century, saw the rise of computing, electronics, and all forms of telecommunications. Jobs shifted away from factories and into offices; we’ll call this Jobs 2.0. 

We are in the process of a fourth industrial revolution, characterized by huge increases in connectivity and advances in areas like artificial intelligence and the internet of things. The nature of work has shifted again, away from the old, office-bound, 9-to-5, and towards a more fluid model. 

This is what I’ve called Jobs 3.0. 

Related: Migrating Your Business To A Cloud? Here Are Five Mistakes You Need To Be Wary Of

The Office Of The Future 

We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people working remotely since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, of course. Most people predict that this trend is going to continue. 

Instead of a traditional office, we may see colleagues gathering in shared spaces, when it’s time to collaborate on a project. That means replacing the daily interaction of cubicle life with a more intentional partnering when appropriate, and maybe with remote work at other times. 

Education For Jobs 3.0 

What qualifies a worker for success in the new workforce?  

Traditionally, success meant attending a prestigious university and then working your way up from an entry-level job to a high-powered position. This model held true for many years, in spite of some erosion. But in recent years, the old-fashioned process has been jettisoned in favor of a different approach. 

The workers of the future won’t necessarily need to attend elite schools (and rack up enormous debt) to qualify for good jobs. Instead, they’ll shift to a focus on skill acquisition

You can acquire skills fairly easily –and at a low cost- outside of a university setting. Already, many people are turning to online options like Coursera and Lambda to upskill and reskill. It’s a safe bet that there will be many more such options in the future. 

Talent Sharing 

We can also expect to see more talent sharing. A Harvard Business School report found that 60% of businesses prefer to borrow or rent people with certain skills from other companies, instead of recruiting new full time staff. Under that model, workers are brought in on an as-needed basis to consult or to work on a specific project. 

Hiring freelancers can also help businesses meet short-term needs and fill skills gaps. 

Final Thoughts 

So, with all this happening as we speak, what should you be doing now? 

Begin by studying your field, and asking yourself a few questions. Where will it be in two years, in five years, in ten years? What skills do you need to build in order to add value to that field? How can you acquire those skills, and how can you showcase them? 

As we shift away from the traditional educational model and into a skills-based model, we need effective ways to highlight our skills. What will that look like? 

Portfolios can be effective ways to showcase skills like design, or writing. Soft skills, like social and networking skills, can be harder to demonstrate, but there are plenty of options still.  

Creating a podcast with a deep roster of guests, for example, is a great way to highlight interpersonal skills. Blogging, creating videos, and mentoring others in your field can also help to establish you as someone with experience and expertise.  

Succeeding at Jobs 3.0 requires flexibility, vision, and dedication. It requires an appreciation of the fact that we don’t clock out at 5pm any more. But it also requires a mind that can see beyond the pervasive anxiety of the “busy culture,” and remain open to the endless possibilities that lie before us. 

Related: Five Tips For Startups Wanting To Improve Their Procurement Processes

Yasmine Akermark Morrison

Written By

A thought leader on the future of work, a Harvard graduate student, and an early-stage investor at Antler, Yasmine Akermark Morrison writes about digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and Jobs 3.0. Yasmine co-founded startup Tibba, a skill exchange app, and Svenska Nomader, a future of work community with 11,000+ members. Yasmine spent a few years as a digital nomad living in Dubai, Bali, and Buenos Aires. She is currently based in New York City.