A more complex working life

A webinar last week heard how soon we will all have a more complex working life and why people will have to step up and take more responsibility for managing their careers.

Club Learning


Education needs to be spread throughout a person’s working life as this will be subject to more churn and to periods of more leisure and of gig working, according to a longevity expert.

Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics at London Business School and co-author of The New Long Life, gave a webinar last week on Tech + Longevity – Implications for Jobs and Careers.

He said that the jobs of the future – those that will not be threatened by Artificial Intelligence – will require more human skills and that technology changes will affect even ‘secure’ jobs. While some jobs will be lost to AI, he says, new jobs will be created and many existing jobs will be partly automated. That will require a lot of upskilling and learning. “Jobs may not be lost but will change and people will have to adapt and upskill,” said Professor Scott.

A sense of identity

People – and employers – will need to react and to prepare better for the changes ahead. As people work longer, the traditional three-stage life of education, work, retirement will be turned on its head. Education will need to take place throughout people’s working lives, retirement will be delayed and people’s working life will be more in cycles, with periods of working in steady jobs, periods of leisure or ‘parental leave’ [which is more likely to be for looking after older relatives than for children] and periods of task-based or gig work likely.

Working life will be more complex, said Professor Scott, and that will affect people’s sense of identity, given that in the past identity was very much tied up with status and a particular job. People, he says, will need to take more responsibility for their working lives and have a broader sense of work and the line between work and life will become more blurred as people do more work-related things such as networking in their spare time.

Employers will need to work together to ensure the gig economy provides the skills they need and find new ways to reward workers, too, he says, such as giving them greater flexible working or lifelong learning opportunities – particularly in stackable, portable soft skills –  rather than rewarding them through good pension packages.

Professor Scott added that it is important that the Government learns from the history of the Industrial Revolution and makes sure the technology revolution includes everyone by upskilling all members of the workforce, rethinks the social welfare system and offers tax incentives to encourage lifelong learning.

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