By Shannon Houde
Last year, the World Economic Forum produced a report on the ‘Future of Jobs’, in which they outlined the 10 skills we’ll all be needing by 2020. I was revisiting this report recently for an executive coaching project I’m working on, and got to thinking about what their projections mean for the sustainability jobs market. How can sustainability professionals be 2020-ready? How can organizations future-proof their hiring strategies?
It’s clear that the trends the report identifies are being felt already: cloud computing, mobile internet and big data are changing the way we do our jobs. By 2020, it predicts that the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ will be here, with robotics, artificial intelligence and automation making some roles obsolete. Admin, manufacturing and construction jobs will sink, while business, financial operations and management will rise. And the work itself will change as geopolitics, consumer ethics, climate change and access to scarce natural resources become increasingly material to corporate strategies.
These technological and socio-economic contexts present significant staffing challenges for CEOs. As Susan Winterberg at BSR says, “business leaders … must tackle how to take advantage of the productivity and innovation opportunities presented by automation technologies while also ensuring a smooth workforce transition.” The successful jobseekers of the future will be the ones who anticipate these trends, and the successful businesses of the future will be the ones that are hiring and upskilling in line with them.
In such a dynamic business environment, it goes without saying that the sustainability sector will have to adapt and evolve in tandem. Those of us working in the field need to prepare now to ensure our careers are 2020-ready, and boards and HR teams need to get their house in order to guarantee their edge in the fight for talent. Here are five of the most important skills for future that we all need to take note of now, with a sustainability lens:
This connects to problem solving above, but it’s distinct, in that it describes the ability to ask the right questions from a variety of different perspectives and to really interrogate the options. It also implies a solid understanding of the business landscape, as well as the trends in technology, science and socio-economics. Bringing that macro-level view down to the micro-level of decision-making and picking apart the assumptions and biases will add serious value to your offer as a sustainability professional. Again prove this to the reader in a solid accomplishment statement or two that shows how you have challenged the status quo and can think with an innovation lens on.
If you’d like some bespoke help getting your CV 2020-ready, check out my website www.walkoflifeconsulting.com. I also work with organizations to future-proof their HR strategies and upskill teams – find my executive coaching services here www.walkoflifeleaders.com.
Shannon Houde is an ICF certified executive and career coach who founded, Walk of Life Consulting, the first international professional development advisory business focused solely on the social impact, environmental and sustainable business fields.
Image Credit: EvgeniT via Pixabay