Tag Archives: future proof career

How to join the freelance revolution

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to join the freelance revolutionMany people we talk to dream of becoming a freelance consultant in their specialist line of work. Recent studies suggest that more and more people are taking up this approach to their careers – both from necessity and desire. So how do you go about becoming a freelancer if you’re still working for the boss?

Australia is currently experiencing a kind of freelance revolution. With jobs being cut and companies keen to hire specialist workforce skills only for certain projects or periods, job security is a thing of the past.

For many people, providing their services via freelancing, consulting or contracting is the perfect situation. Studies already indicate that 30% of the Australian workforce undertakes some kind of freelance work and many are doing this by choice rather than necessity. And it’s not just the younger generation that enjoys the fact they can pick and choose work to focus on. Older workers are also embracing the trend to reduce stress, increase flexibility, take back control of their career and life, and in many situations earn higher levels of income for their difficult-to-find skills and unique levels of experience.

Freelancing is a great option for many people wanting to escape the grind of a regular full-time job, but it isn’t for everyone. So what can you do to get started?

  • Understand your reasons why: If you’re doing it because you hate your job or boss, you want to work less hours or earn more money – it’s probably not the right decision. While it’s ok to have long term goals of working less, earning more and not having to answer to anyone, in the short term this is rarely the case. You need to be very good at what you do and passionate about doing that for others on a daily basis if you’re going to succeed as a freelancer.
  • Work out your offer: Being great at what you do and knowing everything about your industry isn’t enough. Pretty much anything can be outsourced to someone these days, which means what you do may be the same as what many others do. Technology has made it easier for independent workers to engage with employers anywhere in the world at any time of the day, which has opened up a global freelance market that didn’t previously exist. This means that whilst freelance work is certainly growing, it is also becoming more competitive to secure. Make sure you can clearly articulate your offer and how it is different. It might be important to narrow your focus rather than broaden it. Being a specialist limits your target market, but it also makes you more attractive to a specific set of prospects, whereas being a ‘jack of all trades’ may not be as effective.
  • Work out your finances: Many people think freelance work will provide instant financial rewards with the hourly rate looking much more attractive (on paper) than a full-time employee’s rate. Keep in mind you spend many more hours on your business than anyone is willing to pay. Your clients pay for a service, but the time it takes to run the business may not be billable. Many factors determine how much extra (unbillable) time you spend, however be realistic about how long it might take you to earn your desired salary and ensure you have the means to support yourself until then. The best way to prepare is to build up a salary safety net – you could start small on the side while still working in paid employment or perhaps think about taking a regular part-time role. Even the best freelancers take continuous bread and butter jobs, so they have a reliable regular income source. And remember, if you’re not in full-time paid employment, you won’t be earning any superannuation, so take that into consideration when you’re planning.
  • Manage your time and maintain motivation: With no manager to hold you accountable, you need to maintain your reliability. Doing what you said you’d do, when you said you’d do it is the secret to success. Your clients (and your income) will depend on this since freelancers often aren’t paid until they deliver. This can be a difficult adjustment, so be mindful of budgeting and ensuring a constant flow of work to maintain cash flow. You will also need to make sure that every one of your clients feels like they are your top priority. The secret is to implement systems and processes to keep everything on track and don’t overcommit. Depending on your personality, this may or may not be an issue, but if you’re not highly motivated, your income will most certainly suffer.
  • Don’t forget about the boring bits: Running your own business means being prepared to get your hands dirty and handle every aspect of your business including the mundane and parts that may be outside your comfort zone such as finances, marketing, prospecting, sales and administration. Many freelancers make the mistake of thinking that because they are great at what they do, they will have a great business. This is often not the case. You need to be an expert in your area BUT you also need to wear many hats if your business is going to thrive. Down the track you may choose to outsource these areas, but in the beginning you will need to work hard and do it all while building your client base.

The opportunities for freelancers are endless. Most people choose it to provide more flexibility and freedom in their life but it doesn’t come easy. Be prepared to work hard and understand you most likely won’t achieve overnight success. You’ll need to allow some time to build your client base.

Would you like career advice to help you decide whether or not to join the freelance revolution?  If so, please see our Career Counselling Services.

Will your job exist in five years?

Article by Belinda Fuller

Will your job exist in five years?According to experts, many of the jobs we take for granted today may disappear sooner than we think. With rapid technological advancements, globalisation, increasing government regulatory demands, demographic and lifestyle modifications, the pace of change is rapid. So how can you predict whether your job will still exist in the future?

According to a report released by The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) on ‘The New Work Mindset’, there are new sets of skills required to thrive in the new world of work, as well as a need to shift our mindset around our approach to jobs, careers, and work. Other research conducted over several years indicates that the way we work is increasingly being affected by automation, globalisation and collaboration. So how do we keep pace with change, and how do we even predict if our jobs will exist in the future?

The professions most likely to not exist in the near future are those where automation and/or technology is having the biggest impact and human interaction is not necessarily required. These include bank tellers, secretaries and administrative staff, traditional retail and customer service roles, travel agents, print journalists, manufacturing/assembly line workers, toll booth operations, IT support workers, and other less obvious areas like mining where automation is having a huge impact on human interaction; and university lecturers due to the rise in online training.

While all of these professions may not exist in years to come, most experts predict that while we lose jobs in one area or another, they will most certainly be replaced with other jobs – with many of the jobs of the future not even existing today. For example, some research indicates that over the past 25 years, Australia has lost 1 million jobs in manufacturing, administration and labouring, but gained more than 1 million jobs across the knowledge and service industries.

The jobs that will remain, appear, and continue to grow in demand will almost certainly require human traits such as common sense, compassion and interpersonal interaction, communication, teamwork, problem solving, innovation and creativity, project management and planning, training others, research and analysis, and writing.

The industries with predicted growth include:

  • Health care workers – nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, physiotherapists, community health workers, paramedics
  • Medical staff – GP’s, specialists, surgeons, psychiatrists, dentists
  • Emergency services workers
  • Social workers
  • Beauty and massage therapists, make-up artists, fitness instructors
  • Teachers, childcare workers, special education teachers
  • Policy analysts, statisticians, economists, financial brokers
  • Solicitors, actuaries, market research analysts
  • HR advisors, organisational psychologists, OH&S advisors
  • Gallery or museum curators
  • Detectives
  • Programmers, software engineers, web developers, database administrators

According to the FYA report, jobs are more related than we may have previously realised – with the good news indicating that when you train to work in one job, you may actually be acquiring the skills to work in 13 other jobs (on average). That means the skills you acquire for a role that may no longer exist in the future, will most likely be able to be used in several other roles.

Are you unsure which career path to take or which course to study? Are you interested in obtaining some career advice? If so our career advisors are experts in their field. If you would like some direction, please see our Career Coaching Services.

Where will your job be in the future?

Article by Belinda Fuller

iStock_000066431281_SmallAccording to a recent report by CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – more than five million of Australia’s current jobs may have disappeared within 10 to 15 years. That’s almost 40 per cent of our total jobs which puts us on the verge of massive change to say the least.

This recent research suggests the whole world is facing a new but very different industrial revolution with the reality that we will experience significant job losses due to computerisation and automation. But is it something to fear? It’s not all doom and gloom, with new jobs emerging as current ones disappear and ways to prevent obsolescence.

Consider these statistics – in 1900, one in four Australians were employed in Agriculture – in 2015, jobs in Agriculture account for just 2% of all Australian jobs – that’s one in 50! Likewise, manufacturing accounted for 28% of the workforce in 1970, fast forward just 45 years and that’s down to around 7%. In our dynamic and globally competitive economy, lost jobs in declining areas are usually made up for in new ones because innovation drives new ways of doing things and new demand in different areas.

We know that technological advancements have been reshaping the way we work for many years, with increasing computer capacity and the ability for machines to replicate the work of humans. We have already experienced automation and job losses in many areas and we are now seeing areas previously deemed impossible to replicate with machinery almost becoming reality. For example, driving is no longer considered a task that will always require human intervention, with Google recently patenting a driverless car.

Even where humans can’t be replaced altogether, automation is impacting speed, productivity and efficiency, which is reducing the amount of human intervention required. One certainty for the years ahead is that employment will continue to be affected by evolving technology. This means employees need to be able to work with technology as a basic requirement, but they also need to understand that technology will likely replace many tasks, and eventually jobs, that we previously thought would always require a human touch. We simply don’t know where technology will take us – the past 20 years have seen the internet, broadband, mobile and social networks cause disruption to existing businesses. Examples include online travel booking and review sites shaking up the tourism industry; the advent of streaming music and video content replacing DVD/CD purchase and rental; the creation of Uber as an alternative to traditional taxis; and online shopping replacing traditional retail shopping for many consumers.

For the foreseeable future at least, there are some areas that will not succumb to technological replacement. So where should we be looking?

  • Healthcare & Aged Care – our ageing population will place demand on healthcare workers of all kinds – including nurses, doctors, physical therapists, home care aids, and other medical professionals.
  • IT – so much technology that we use every day did not exist 20 or even 10 years ago. Computers, the Internet, and Smartphones have changed much of our daily lives. As technology continues to develop, so too will the demand for professionals to leverage it.
  • Data Analysts – companies are collecting information at a rate never before seen. Computers can only do so much with the data – large corporations need people to conduct complex analysis and conceive innovative ideas to drive business growth.
  • Marketing – increasing competition particularly from global competitors as a result of the Internet will drive demand for smart, innovative and creative marketing people that understand digital and social media. The use of predictive analytics to predict trends and customer needs will also increase – driving demand for marketing people with strong IT and technical skills.
  • Content Creators – as a result of increasing global competition and a focus on ‘educating’ customers rather than simply ‘selling’ to them – content is king. People who can write compelling and engaging content for use on websites, blogs, newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, and special reports will be in demand.
  • Financial Planners – unsettled economic times and reducing government budgets for pensions and other support means individuals and businesses need sound financial advice to secure their futures.

These are just some of the many areas of growth that we can expect in the coming years. As a job seeker, or someone whose industry is already declining, it is important to remain flexible and optimistic. Industries, careers and jobs can change rapidly but by embracing this changing world and constantly learning new skills, you will survive.

Are you constantly listening, learning and planning? Would you like career advice to better understand what you should be doing to plan for the future? If so, see our career counselling services.

How to Future Proof Your Career

Article by Belinda Fuller

What will the world look like in 20 years from now? I remember well the day as a young marketer, I was given the first ‘personal computer’ my company had purchased. It was an IT (software) company so we were technologically savvy, but this really was a new frontier. Microsoft Windows ‘point and click’ had only just arrived. It isn’t that long ago, but back then anyone who needed a computer had ‘green screen’ terminals attached to a mainframe, or if you were one of the lucky few – an Apple Mac. Fast forward 20 odd years and it is unheard of for anyone in an office environment not to have their own laptop or PC with internet access and a vast array of software.

Many jobs have changed and evolved significantly, and I’m certain the job market of the future holds many surprises for most of us. So what can you do now, to ensure your knowledge and skills are marketable into the future?

1.  Keep up to date – career paths are changing all the time so stay alert and think about how cultural, economic and technological trends might affect you, your job and your company. Understand that new jobs are being created all the time.

2.  Network – most commentators agree that word of mouth and networking will become even more important in securing jobs in the future. While networking is not new, technological advances mean the way we do it is vastly different to 10 years ago. Keep track of everyone you meet, stay in touch with former colleagues and superiors and join professional networking groups. This has all become so much easier to achieve with online tools such as LinkedIn.

3.  Learn – continuous learning is essential. Offer to take on different responsibilities in your current role to gain experience that might enable you to look for opportunities outside of your primary area of expertise. Ensure your skills are transferrable by looking outside your current job scope to develop cross-functional skills.

4.  Get Tech Savvy – technological proficiency is required for more and more jobs today. Think how much a GP needs to understand about technology today compared to 10 or 20 years ago where virtually no technology was involved. There is also an increasing use of mobile technology and the globalisation of many markets means that working with virtual teams, while leveraging a range of different technologies, will be another important skill.

5.  Know Your Value – create and maintain a record of your achievements. When you’re looking for a new job, you need more than just skills and experience. You need specialist expertise and you need to be able to demonstrate the value you can bring to an organisation. By keeping track of successes, accolades, outstanding results and training completed, it will be so much easier when the time comes to move.

6.  Remain open – Your career path may be clear, but for many people it isn’t – especially if you are in a slow growing or declining industry. Keep your options open so you’re not locked in or taken by surprise. It’s best to prepare sooner rather than later.

It is important to remain flexible and optimistic. Industries, careers and jobs are changing at a rapid pace and the people that succeed are those that embrace our changing world and the setbacks encountered as learning experiences. Are you constantly listening, learning and planning? If so, you’ll find yourself in the best possible position to capitalise on opportunities as they arise.

Would you like career advice to better understand where the experts are predicting job growth for the future? Or perhaps you’d like to put together a plan that identifies how you can future proof your career. If so, our Career Advisors can help! For more information, please see our career coaching services.