As our economy enters a period of transition, we all need to consider what the economy of the future will look like. What types of jobs will be available and what skill sets will be required to perform these jobs?

Industries undergoing significant structural change include high volume manufacturing, production of commodities, and renewable energy. In each of these industries, organisations and their employees are confronted with unavoidable change, shrouding their future in uncertainty.

There are some interesting changes and career development challenges arising:

  • The Victorian Government has recently announced funding of approximately $30M to assist employees of automotive component suppliers affected by the forthcoming closure of the major automotive companies. The purpose of the funding is to assist employees identify alternative career paths, with retraining being a major part of this package. It is believed the South Australian Government may offer similar assistance to the component suppliers industry based in South Australia.
  • The global oversupply of aluminium refining has closed Alcoa’s operations in Australia affecting in excess of 1000 employees.
  • The Commonwealth Government’s removal of the carbon tax raises concern for the futures of the estimated 22,000 employees in the renewable energy industry.

The challenge for all employees is ‘how prepared am I to change in order to adapt to a new economy requiring new skills?’

We find employees are generally reluctant to consider career change. This reluctance is commonly driven by:

  • Financial restrictions – an inability or unwillingness to invest the time in further study to acquire new knowledge and skills;
  • Unwillingness to ‘take a backward or sideways step’ in their career development – taking a more junior role in order to learn new skills can seem counterproductive and demoralising in the short-term; and
  • Not taking the time to actively consider their career and their future.

With the scenarios identified above, there is a need for organisations and their employees to begin actively managing their careers. None of us know what we don’t know and a well-structured career development program can make a world of difference in assisting employees to take active control of their careers and future direction. A successful career development program needs to highlight:

  • Transferable skills;
  • Alternative career paths;<