7 ways to protect your career from negative economic headwinds

7 ways to protect your career from negative economic headwinds

In times of economic uncertainty, it can be comforting to seek a recession-proof job. The reality, however, is that all jobs are prone to change and open to economic impact.

While employment levels are still strong, some economists predict Australia’s labour market is weakening, and unemployment will rise. At the same time, the type of work we do continues to change from the impacts of artificial intelligence, automation and robotics.

In today’s working world, there is no such thing as a job for life or one that’s recession-proof. Instead, it’s about being ready for whatever the future holds.

Here are seven tips to consider.

1. Embrace change

Getting comfortable starts with building your resilience for the inevitable change that will arise and adopting a growth mindset so you are ready to adapt.

It is easier to embrace change when you are proactive and deliberate about the steps you need to take.

2. Get future focused

Elevate your awareness of what is happening and how your role, profession, industry and sector will likely change.

With that knowledge, you’re better placed to determine what action you need to take. You can also more readily notice where there are opportunities in the job market to pursue.

3. Become a career investor

Critically examine your career – where you are now, where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there.

As part of this step, be clear on the value you offer prospective employers. Everyone brings specific skills and ways of operating to the work they do.

It’s essential to articulate that value and explain how you can help an organisation, business, or client achieve its objectives.

4. Find your learning edge

What’s valued by employers changes over time, so you want to keep the skills and capabilities that you offer current. This means don’t wait for your organisation to develop you.

Stay ahead of the curve by striving for broad and deep learning by staying abreast of the latest thinking from your profession and also from complementary occupations and industries. For example, undertake micro-credentials or enrol in online courses to acquire new skills.

5. Focus on connection

According to the McKinsey Global Institute Report (2017), people in caring, technology or knowledge roles will be the least impacted by artificial intelligence and automation, while technicians, processors, and people doing predictable physical work will be most affected.

While the predictable, routine and process elements of roles will be automated, what can’t be automated is the relational, emotional and leadership skills needed for work.

Consequently, having strong self-awareness and emotional intelligence is just as important as a person’s technical skills. So when you’re upskilling, invest in developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence skills.

6. Build your career advisory board

Many jobs are unadvertised, so networking is crucial not just to land a new job but also to help you identify the available roles.

Meeting new people will also help expand your awareness of potential next steps, how things are changing and what new opportunities are opening up.

As part of this process, identify the core people in your network who make up your career advisory board.

This board may include a sponsor, mentor or career coach who helps you navigate and adapt to the changing working world. They provide advice, share insights, constructively challenge your thinking and actions, and provide connections and ideas.

7. Nurture your personal commitments

Your career is one part of your life, and your choices are influenced by the other elements of your life.

Get clear on those commitments and know what is most important to you. Life is often a series of trade-offs, and when you know what matters most, it becomes easier to prioritise and focus your attention.

In all this, remember to take care of yourself inside and out. Career uncertainty and career changes are often stressful.

Carve out time for self-care activities, whether it’s exercise, meditation or restorative activities and ensure you get enough sleep. These elements are all critical ingredients for your health and a sustained career.

Michelle Gibbings

This article was written by Michelle Gibbings.

Michelle is a workplace expert and the award-winning author of three books. Her latest book is Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one.

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