#careers #innovation #psychometrictests #renewableenergy #thefutureofwork
WILL you still be employed in the next decade or will robots replace you? Depends. Specifically, on your imagination and not on every haunting sci-fi movie or TV series you have ever watched. It also depends on formidable panelists: Laura Chite, CEO, CIO East Africa, Linda Osodo, Head of HR Liquid Telecom EA, Doris Chelangat, Country Director Shortlist Professionals, and Genevieve Goulding, Programme Director Off-Grid Talent Initiative Programme, Shortlist Professionals, who sparked the minds of DigiTalent Cohort IV Group at the Kenya School of Government (KSG). The workplace has since become a 1987 leadership theory acronymed VUCA: Volatile. Uncertain. Complex. Ambiguous. If the robots don’t replace you, time will, promise Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, the VUCA originators. This is why you should be very afraid. 50% of all US jobs are at risk of being automated. Will robots replace you? Yours could easily be one of them if you “do not upgrade your skills every two years,” points out Doris Chelangat, and work on your soft skills.
In 2018 the World Economic Forum (w.e.f.) said certain jobs would be phased out in time, including Human Resources (HR). How different is the labour market now than it was a decade ago, and what do Gen Y and Gen Z have to look forward to?
Linda: 10 years ago everyone banked. What happened to all those tellers? Technology came. 3/4s of the time you had to meet people at the reception. Now lifts stop at the exact floor you need to go to. Jobs used to be advertised with a certificate in computer studies. Now this is like speaking English; a minimum requirement. Even the tech knowledge we have now was not there 10 years ago. Jobs and people are changing. It is volatile.
Doris: The labour market is changing. I do not have to be at work to work. We need to figure out what this means in terms of data and breaking down work into palatable chunks. What has not changed are the skills bringing us labour. Education has not changed much or as fast to be able to provide us with the skill or labour. That is why opportunities like internship are very important.
Go for Renewable Energy as a Career
Genevieve: One of the sectors that has changed rapidly over the last 10 years is renewable energy. Kenya is leading the way on this. Last year $1.4 billion was invested in renewable energy in Kenya, which is more than ever in the renewable energy capacity. Kenya is ready for frameworks to open the market for renewable off-grid job possibilities in that sector, which are among the best in the region. Just to give you an idea, last year there were about 10,000 formal skilled jobs across all functions. This is off-grid alone, which is at par with Kenya’s main grid job openings. By 2022, there is the expectation that this will rise by more than 70%. So we are talking 17,000 jobs in Kenya alone opening up for renewable decentralised energy. In today’s labour market, energy is the place where the big shift is happening.
Technology has caused a challenge to the modern employer. We have degrees but we can’t do the job. What is going on? Is it the skills or lack of training?
Laura: This stems from our education system. we are so stuck with the colonial/British way that we end up being unequipped for the job market. Youth barely have time to think and adapt to the job market and express their skills and passion. When I hire there are several things I look at. One of the things I don’t look at, are your technical skills. I believe anyone can do anything so long as they are passionate about it. Communication skills are critical too. How we interact with our family and friends determines how we socialise in the work place. I had to adapt to the language of millennials. Passion does count for much. Companies like Microsoft and KPMG do not care about your degree. They want to nurture passion and talent and build you with the right skills. Keep experimenting. If the job does not click, leave it, try something else. Move on. Tech has changed everything. Take advantage of it.
Education is King
Linda: I need to demystify something. From the HR context, the degree is what differentiates you from the quack. It is an eye opener that teaches you mental flexibility and theory, which is exciting to know. You do need a degree and that is the reality. It matters. There are certain critical skills that matter during an interview and a degree is the starting point. It opens the door. And another thing. Yes, we do background checks on social media. The world is judgemental and it determines how you get through the door. You may not have the skills but do you have the attitude to learn? What also counts are interpersonal skills and presentation skills. The latter applies when you are coming for an interview, and this is what sets you apart. Google may not care how you dress but to the others, it counts.
Doris: Unfortunately for you, you are being hired by this generation on the panel. When it is your turn you can change it. If your skills do not change or get refreshed every two years, you will find yourself out of a job. Catch up with the industry. I blame employers for this gap. Employers are changing the skills needed but are not bothering to connect with the schools that do the training. We know what we require but we don’t share it. The reality is we need a few more Andelas to get to that place.
Employers Need to Talk with Teachers
There is a mismatch and employers are not doing enough to prepare the education sector making finishing schools like Moringa necessary. I am caught between degree or not degree because research indicates that your IQ is so important it forms 50% of your skill on the job. Guess how we measure your intelligence? Academics. Which is unfair, and yes there is a bit of drag, but until the education sector, government and employers sit down and work it out, we have what we get.
Genevieve: Shortlist specifically targets candidates with 0 to 1 year experience in the field of energy that is taking off. But we are also looking to fill all kinds of roles even as a portal for entry level employment. The challenge we are facing is we have a long laundry list of professional experience to reference. As an entry-level employee, exposure counts. Do you have practical skills such as leadership or interpersonal skills thanks to extracurricular activities? These can be detected a mile away. Internships, fellowships, training programmes, anything that exposes you to the real world; that and research opportunities, will always place you at the top of a huge pool of jobseekers. The ability to demonstrate management and leadership qualities does not come form 10 years of management under the belt thanks to working at KPMG.
What should the next generation setting up SMEs look forward to?
Laura: The Future of Work by the w.e.f. report is your future. It talks about the top 10 declining jobs and top 10 new jobs coming in 2020. Statistics in Kenya say 1 million new employees enter the workforce every year. Competition is stiff. Thinking creatively on how to sustain yourself with the power of technology and use it to make money for yourself. Be innovative. I don’t believe it when people say there are no jobs, because we have technology. We have one of the fastest internet speeds in the world and we are in the Silicon Savannah. We cannot still be talking about getting and being employed. Create jobs. Don’t get them. You will never be as successful as you want to be when you are employed.
Employment or Entrepreneurship
And if you are waiting to be employed, look for something to do and prepare for the job. Polish your soft skills. Master your elevator speech. Be memorable. Think critically. The top jobs right now include AI and machine learning specialists as the new and funky jobs. Never ever say tech is here to take over your job. Technology has always been about giving humans what they want. Robots will not replace you. This is why generalists’ jobs are proving very popular. Jobs that give people what they want like operations (aka COOs), the one person with the skills to plug into every part of the organisation and connect ends, data analysts and scientists – and here I need you to think GDPR and what to do with collected data being interpreted to create new jobs.
Linda: In HR they used to tell us if it can be outsourced, it can cease to exist. If you can automate it, it no longer exists. Learning, relearning and unlearning is critical. If your goal is to be employed, you need to know how competitive it is. What is unique about you? If you acquire transferable skills you have an advantage. Every job has changed over the past decade. Employers are here to make money but also change lives on the daily. What you bring to the table has to be something no one else has, and this is what your employer needs. What kind of SME you become is based on how distinctly you carve yourself out. Join social media and use those platforms. If you are the kind of person who goes to LinkedIn every morning, or use it to look up people you are about to meet, you are the kind of person who has the right kind of skills needed in this age.
Doris: Last year only 1% of IT jobs advertised asked for people with 0 to 1 year experience. There are a lot of candidates and as employers we are spoilt for choice. How do you bridge that gap and try catch up? You have a smartphone. 50% of our clients are start-ups. If you have a smartphone, try your best to use it to find a job. You simply cannot say there is nothing out there.
Genevieve: I would like to do a shameless plug for OGTI on www.shortlist.net/energy if you are interested in renewable energy. The sector is taking off. Get your foot in the door. This is not just for minimum 12 months experience and below. We have recruited software engineers, data analysts, inventory specialists, accountants and finance specialists. We are always looking for young strong talent. I encourage you to apply.
How can one ‘work’ psychometric tests to make sure they get the job? Is there a proper to answer these questions?
Laura: These tests are meant to dive into things such as, how well will you fit into the environment? Are you a team player? How do you work under pressure? From a personal perspective, I have encountered a situation where without the psychometric test someone would not have gotten the job. These tests also help find those with lesser intellectual talent and to help them grow.
Linda: Psychometric tests help us identify how you think when it comes to complex problems, check for cognitive skills, life skills and aptitude. There is a trick to taking them. If you realise there is going to be a test, take a break, visualise yourself working there. Knowing two or more people who work there helps you visualise the company culture. Once you do this, answer them as yourself. In a frame of mind that works for you. Tests are truthfully speaking, used to weed a certain type of person out. When we place ads, we get 1,800 applications for one job. Only 10% of those will get to the end. But, even if you do not get the job, think of it as earning you Bonga points. Someday, even a year from now, we could give you a call and ask if you are interested in an opportunity.
Top 8 w.e.f. Jobs in 2020
- Business and Financial Operations
- Computer and Mathematical
- Architecture and Engineering
- Sales and Related
- Education and Training
- HR and Organisational Development Specialists
- Regulatory and Government Relations Experts
Top 6 w.e.f. Jobs That Are Declining in 2020
- Office and Administrative
- Manufacturing and Production
- Construction and Extraction
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media
- Installation and Maintenance
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Robotics Engineer
- Data Scientist
- Full Stack Engineer
- Site Reliability Engineer
- Customer Success Specialist
- Sales Development Representative
- Data Engineer
- Behavioural Health Technician
- Cybersecurity Specialist
- Back-End Developer
- Chief Revenue Officerf
- Cloud Engineer
- Java Script Developer
- Product Owner
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