Expectations vs Reality – The Jobs Edition

What did you expect when the pandemic hit last year and you were told to work from home? What were your thoughts when you were offered a temporary job that lasts for only 6 months? What came to your mind when your prospective employer said that “your qualifications look good on paper, but you’re not the one we’re looking for”? We know how challenging it has been to navigate the job market in today’s day and age, and we know how previous generations have created these preconceived expectations we place on our careers and on ourselves. However, if you’ve reacted negatively to any of the questions above, don’t worry because workplace transformation and the changing nature of work in the 21st century could be a blessing in disguise.

1. Qualifications 

Expectation: You need a university degree to find a job.

Reality: Specialised expertise and advanced skill-sets are high in demand. Employers are no longer just looking out for paper qualifications – work experience and in-demand skills are prioritised when it comes to selecting the right candidate. According to McKinsey & Company, some of the top employability skills in demand include problem solving, critical thinking, technological and social skills. This shift in demand for skills has catalysed the trend of upskilling and reskilling in the workforce, as seen from how 40% of current workers’ core skills are expected to change in the next 5 years. Before your next interview, take the time to think about your existing skillsets and whether they are applicable in today’s competitive landscape.

What to do: Take the opportunity to hone your skills through internships to improve your overall employability. Working for various employers also helps you to gain a wide breadth of experience and at the same time, expand your network. Start your career improvement journey today and explore a series of opportunities with us here.

2. Nature Of Work 

Expectation: A proper job means working from 9-6pm in the office.

Reality: Jobs can be full-time, part-time, contract or even contingent! Besides permanent roles, temporary or freelance workers are also highly sought-after by employers today. If you have never heard of the gig economy, you could be one of the people who are still unable to move on into the new normal. Due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, we’re seeing many people taking up temporary, short-term gigs, either by choice or without. These gig workers belong to the gig economy, a term coined to describe the phenomenon of employees turning to freelance work while waiting for permanent employment or using it to supplement their income while dabbling in ventures, education or entrepreneurship. Besides, highly-skilled freelancers are in high demand, especially with companies who are looking to tap on the specialised skill-sets of these talents for niche projects.

What to do: Tap on gigs or project-based assignments to learn new skill-sets or enrol in a contract role to determine whether the industry is one you are ready to fully commit to. If you’re unsure of which type of job to take on, talk to our expert consultants today and we’ll be able to advise you based on your needs and career aspirations.

3. Remote Working 

Expectation: Working from home means more me-time after work.

Reality: The lines between work and life are blurring. Although the commute to work has been reduced and there are many benefits to remote working, many of us find it challenging to switch off after work hours which could lead to burnout. If you’re experiencing signs of this year’s buzzword ‘languishing’, it is most likely a result of your remote working arrangements. Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness and it could take a toll on your mental health and even disrupt your ability to focus during work. Don’t be worried if you’re feeling this way as it is an experience shared by many across the globe, you just have to take little steps to get your drive back and improve your remote work productivity.

What to do: Plan your day by listing the tasks to be done and allocate time for each task within working hours. Most importantly, be disciplined in following the schedule and resist the temptation to let work eat into your personal time. Alternatively, follow us on social media for motivational quotes to improve your well-being and connect with a community of like-minded people who are in this together.

4. Digitalisation 

Expectation: Machines are replacing humans.

Reality: Technology has created more jobs that it has displaced. Automation has allowed companies to innovate and resulted in the digital economy where physical boundaries do not matter. Technical progress and the boom in online services has created more jobs for tech-savvy candidates, so be sure to upgrade your digital skills. According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2020 Report, there is a growing job demand for data analysts and scientists, AI and machine specialists and big data specialists. All these are new jobs created due to the shift in the division of labour between humans and machines and the changing nature of work in IT companies, hence technology may not be as scary as your predecessors have described.

What to do: Upgrade your tech skills by enrolling for employment opportunities in the tech sector! Be it signing up for online courses or applying for short-term stints, it is always a good idea to stay on top of the tech game as digitalisation is here to stay. One more thing to remember, change is always constant so do not be complacent as the digital skills from today might not be applicable tomorrow – it’s time to adopt the mindset to constantly update and improve your knowledge.

The post-pandemic world is the new normal and it is here to stay. Whether you approach it with apprehension or confidence, nothing is impossible as we are here to help. Feel free to reach out to us if you require any career guidance or just want a chat!