Mark McCrindle, social researcher wrote "Get the skills mix right and you can thrive in the workplace of tomorrow" Today in Australia there are as many 60-years-olds as 6-year-olds. This is the start of the age wave hitting Australia. Our traditional spread of ages formed a "population pyramid" shaped by the bulk of the population being children, and declining numbers as you moved up the age groups. However this "pyramid" is becoming rectangular. By the end of this decade life expectancy at birth will exceed 81 for male and 86 for a female, and more than one in five Australians will be over 60. Hand in hand with an ageing population goes an ageing workforce. In 2020 the "never-grow-old" baby boomers will be in their 60s and 70s, and the oldest Gen Xers will work later in life than any other generation. This ageing workforce wil eventually result in mass retirements, a knowledge gap, a skills shortage, and succession planning challenges. Over the next decade 40 per cent of today's senior leaders will reach retirement age. Already the average age of an employed person in the education sector is 44, and in the health sector it is 45. Therefore there will be a premium paid to employees who can gain experience in a career, climb the ranks within an organisation, and more into leadership positions. Whereas the past decade saw the growth of portfolio careers, work-life balance, and "sea-change" lifestyle jobs, this new decade is bringing a return to career stability. There will be great rewards and excellent opportunities for workers who are prepared to develop their skills, commit to an organisation and step up into leadership roles. The exodus of long-term, full-time older staff won't be effectively filled by part-time, short-term, variety-seeking young staff. So educated, innovative, productive, and committed Australians will be in global demand.
How to thrive in the ever-changing workforce: 1. Regardless of age, keep abreast of workplace technology. If it means attending a course to brush up your skills - do it! 2. The average school-leaver today will have five careers in their lifetime. So regardless of which career you're up to, stay plugged into education: be a life-long learner. And this doesn't just mean in the classroom, there are many online courses and on-the-job qualifications that will keep you relevant in times of great change. 3. The workplace is increasingly diverse. Those who can communicate across generations, cultures and genders will be "in-demand" team leaders and managers. Work hard to understand the differences and bridge the gaps. People skills are key, so work on your emotional intelligence, conflict-resolution skills, active listening and collaborative management. 4. The leaders of tomorrow are those who take on extra responsibility today. Look for extra responsibility, take on tasks that will enhance your skills and deliver you more experience. Leaders with generalist skills and a positive attitude to work will be the ones first in line for promotion. 5. For leaders at all levels, it is essential to develop those around you. Great leaders model excellence, mentor their teams and continually delegate responsibility to ensure seamless leadership transitions.
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