THE CHANGING NATURE OF JOBS AND ITS DEMANDS
Effective utilization of available resources, information and exploring the potentials is an important issue and it is in this light that synchrony of personal aspirations and global requirements assume relevance. Globalization is creating waves of unsurety and insecurity. The recession, the boom, the demand-supply gap prevailing in certain industries, the ever increasing demand for certain professionals and also the lack of formally trained professionals; all this leads to an ambiguous situation thus making a career choice more complex.
One reason is that, India has primarily been a labour intensive country, but now the focus is changing from labour intensive to people centric. A shift is also seen in the preference from the conventional occupations to more coordinative, challenging, dynamic and service oriented careers. One more reason is also because of the shift from the age-old concept of life-long employment to Employability.
The technological change and boundary-lessness have played a major role in changing workplace culture and its demands. This reflects a change both in the skills required for new and emerging jobs and the rising skill demands for existing jobs. New careers have come into existences. The traditional ‘permanent job’ scene has also seen a change to job sharing, part-time employment, outsourcing, working from home, global employee. Right from a Call Centre job to Hospitality Industry to being a Disc Jockey, every career is now finding its right place and the number of youngsters pursuing these careers is ever increasing. The younger generation prefers quick-money making, unconventional, more challenging and global careers to the traditional and the conventional, secure type of jobs.
In such a scenario, one cannot forget the demands that come along with the jobs. Unlike earlier times, where only skill, knowledge and loyalty played an important role, today’s Employers look for more. They are looking at competitive individuals, who not only possess specialized skills, but also have the ability to handle cross-functional responsibilities. Being ‘cross-functional’ is very essential in today’s’ dynamic work culture.
Employers not only seek individual who are promising, but they are keen to recruit individual who are more talented, performance oriented, have the ability to foresee the future desired level of ability, and then work at a faster pace towards achieving the same.
Basic Skills: The academic basics of reading, writing, and computation are needed in jobs of all kinds. Reading skills are essential as most employees increasingly work with information — on computer terminals, forms, charts, instructions, manuals, and other information displays. Computation skills are needed to organize data for analysis and problem solving.
Technical Skills: Computer skills are well on their way to becoming baseline requirements for many jobs. Workers use a growing array of advanced information, telecommunications, and manufacturing technologies, as employers turn to technology to boost productivity and efficiency, and to deliver services to customers in new ways. For some industries — such as communications, insurance, and so on, information technology constitutes a large amount of all equipment investment. Moreover, information technology changes rapidly, requiring workers to frequently upgrade their skills for competency in successive generations of technology.
Organizational Skills: New systems of management and organization, as well as employee-customer interactions, require a portfolio of skills in addition to academic and technical skills. These include communication skills, analytical skills, problem- solving and creative thinking, interpersonal skills, the ability to negotiate and influence, and self-management. Employers are also now encouraging their teams to discuss work-related problems, indicating the need for these skills.
Company Specific Skills: New technology, market changes, and competition drive companies to innovate, constantly upgrade products and services, and focus on continuous improvement of work processes. As a result, employees must frequently acquire new knowledge and skills specifically relevant to the company’s products and services, and their production processes or service delivery modes.
The demands of each industry differs. An individual who is interested in making a career in the BPO sector, should be aware that it would take him some time [may be longer] to get used to the changed work timing, which would probably give him no time to socialize, adjust the biological clock, and handle the emotional needs.
The flat, open, cross functional, decentralized work culture may sound interesting and fun, but for quite a few adjusting to this kind of an environment may be mammoth task. Individuals who are used to a traditional mind-set of work culture, this situation may be very unnerving. Many of the Service sectors, Media and Advertising industries, have such a work culture.
With new jobs, there also would be new set of frustrations, challenges, and demands may also have a negative impact on an individual thus affecting the performance. So to face the new work related demands, an individual also has to focus on personal growth and needs to also be competent to face the competitive world. Apart form the technical skills, one also needs Adaptability, Assertiveness, Conceptual Clarity, Self- Confidence, Initiative & Proactive Nature, Teamwork, Decision-making, Risk taking ability and Problem solving attitude, as these are some of the key factors that ensure an overall successful personality.
Growth is and will continue in occupations and at all levels. There will be evolution and one has to re-invent continuously. Though it may sound cliché -‘Change is the only constant’ – so keep evolving.