Experts Agree that Lifelong Learning is the Key to Career Success

With the rapid pace of technological and societal change, it is no longer sufficient to rely purely on formal education and college degrees when seeking employment.  We all need to be learning all the time as we adapt to changing conditions in the job, career, and business markets.  The Economist recently published an article on this topic.

Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment. – The Economist

Many people are concerned about the advancement of robotics and automation that appears to be replacing jobs, especially in the manufacturing space.  But the industrial revolution has now been replaced by the information revolution and the knowledge economy.  As such, jobs of the future will change and many new opportunities will arise.  Jobs will be less repetitive, centered around technology innovation, more creative, and more challenging and rewarding.

So how do you prepare for this sea-change?  The answer is lifelong learning, which continues over the course of a person’s entire career.  Keeping up with professional and technology trends will help light the way towards the learning that is most important in the new economy.  Acquire all of the most important skills to participate in a rapidly growing knowledge economy.

A college degree at the start of a working career does not answer the need for the continuous acquisition of new skills, especially as career spans are lengthening. Vocational training is good at giving people job-specific skills, but those, too, will need to be updated over and over again during a career lasting decades. – The Economist

Many successful people understand how important it is to be continuously learning.  The younger you are, the more obvious it is.  Those who rely heavily on the Internet are learning all the time.  A key skill they develop is learning to learn, but there is still a place for classes, workshops, and bootcamps that will boost your learning to new heights.  Unfortunately, companies now spend less money on training and professional development, so it is important for employees to have their own continuous learning strategies.

According to the Pew survey, 54% of all working Americans think it will be essential to develop new skills throughout their working lives; among adults under 30 the number goes up to 61%. Another survey, conducted by Manpower in 2016, found that 93% of millennials were willing to spend their own money on further training. – The Economist

Fortunately it doesn’t take much time or money to boost your skills to make you more competitive.  You just need to have a strategy for ensuring that your knowledge and skills are always up-to-date.  Even if you aren’t in a technical job, technical skills like software and social media help everyone.  Creative skills like graphic design and photography are also useful in a variety of jobs.  Skills like project management, team leadership, and conflict resolution are critical to anyone’s success. In short, knowledge work is an area that will continue to grow; career options will become more varied and require ongoing education to remaining current.

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