Five Trends on the Future of Work

future of work trends STEERus

This article was first published on January 23, 2022 on Authority Magazine HERE.

There have been major disruptions in recent years that promise to change the very nature of work. From the ongoing shifts caused by the COVID19 pandemic, the impacts caused by automation, and other possible disruptions to the status quo, many wonder what the future holds in terms of employment. For example, a report by the McKinsey Global Institute that estimated automation will eliminate 73 million jobs by 2030.

To address this open question, we reached out to successful leaders in business, government, and labor, as well as thought leaders about the future of work to glean their insights and predictions on the future of work and the workplace.

As a part of this interview series called “Preparing For The Future Of Work”, we had the pleasure to interview Loralyn Mears, PhD.

Loralyn Mears, PhD has held executive leadership roles in technology innovation for three Fortune 100s and several tech startups in data science and analytics. Along the way, she’s launched dozens of products, startups, and academic Centers of Excellence. As a recognized author and National Gold Medal Indie book winner, frequent university guest lecturer, and mentor, Loralyn recognized the opportunity to put her experience in higher education and tech into her own effort. STEERus was launched as the world’s first Soft Skills Academy with the transformational goal of closing the gap between education and work and to foster a greater chance for success at school, at work, and in life by training people in soft skills, aka essential skills or human skills.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?

Igrew up in Northern Canada — far enough from Toronto where city lights didn’t dim our spectacular view of the Northern Lights — but not so far North that we still enjoyed our summers by the lake. Bugs fascinated me. More specifically, killing mosquitoes had my attention. But I was always playing the educator role teaching anyone who wanted to learn. I’ve always been an egalitarian and innovator and it’s really fun to be in pursuit of both with my e-Learning Soft Skills Academy at my startup, STEERus.

What do you expect to be the major disruptions for employers in the next 10–15 years? How should employers pivot to adapt to these disruptions?

Employers have lost control. It’s a gig economy and it’s up to the workforce — not the employer — when it comes to who works for whom. Employers are going to have to change their internal practices as well as policies to accommodate the flexibility that workers now demand. It’s going to require routine internal evaluation and audits for succession planning and job casting that evolves from title- and role-based to skills-based. Upskilling needs to be embraced in a big way if employers want to retain the people that they have versus incur the cost, and pain, of recruiting, onboarding, and developing fresh every time that they want to shift gears or do something new.

The choice as to whether or not a young person should pursue a college degree was once a “no-brainer”. But with the existence of many high profile millionaires (and billionaires) who did not earn degrees, as well as the fact that many graduates are saddled with crushing student loan debt and unable to find jobs it has become a much more complex question. What advice would you give to young adults considering whether or not to go to college?

College isn’t for everyone. Nor should it be. We all bring different talents and capabilities to the world. And the way that college tuitions have skyrocketed really calls into question why people should pursue an advanced degree. As someone who has three degrees, a Bachelor’s, a Master’s, and a PhD, even I question if all that education was necessary. I spent 11 years in university when I could have been earning, saving, and enjoying the value of compound interest by my age now. Not only that, but I was spending a lot of money to pursue that education instead of earning money for over a decade. A few high school people that I know went straight into the police force or into the trades like plumbing, or they became electricians, and they’ve already retired. Are they zillionaires? No, but they’re living well and have always maintained a good work-life balance. Entrepreneurship has recently become overly glamorized — it’s not all “Bros in Lambos.” There’s a helluva lot of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and luck that comes into play. In a December 2021 study by Insider Higher Ed, I learned some shocking statistics: 40% of college students work 32 hours or more per week and 22% of students are parents. Education needs to be overhauled top to bottom and getting a college degree isn’t the only path forward. My advice is to get to know yourself and what you want out of life before you apply to college, because you may come to realize that college isn’t for you. And it should be YOUR decision, not your parents’ decision, because it’s YOUR life.

Despite the doom and gloom predictions, there are, and likely still will be, jobs available. How do you see job seekers having to change their approaches to finding not only employment, but employment that fits their talents and interests?

I think that generalists need to  …

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