KAMPALA – “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is more adaptable to change”. Charles Darwin.
Great changes in the world and indeed in organizations and peoples’ lives come after major challenges. Crisis, loss of loved ones, layoffs among others.
What the world is going through is something that has never experienced before.So far, six months down the line, economic activity locked out, not fully operational and from what we hear,no quick recovery is expected. The world will be experiencing many more waives of infections. In Uganda, in the recent months, we have seen an upsurge of infections and deaths. Where does this lead the country, organizations and us as individuals? As we grow up, we start having ideas of what we want to do and what contribution we want to make in society.
We start thinking our careers and about the type of life we want to lead. As a result of this, if we are lucky to go to school, we study those areas which we think will enable us have the type of life that we want. Of course, we will not all be lucky to know what education or degree we need to get us into the right careers and at times we do not know what career opportunities exist. With time, this is being improved and in MUBS, while the student has already decided what programme they will do because they have been admitted already, every attempt is made to try and make them understand what career choices are and how to get to them. These decisions are a little late because they will not take into account the students’ interests and abilities. None the less, the career formation starts at that stage, thinking about what programme one is pursuing and where it will lead him or her in terms of their profession. So our careers get formed at that level and finally we may end up in those careers or business or into something else. This may be propelled by our interests or by us doing masters degrees which divert us into other areas of interest. We are also at times lucky to be fixed somewhere. And we succeed there. Some of us decide to divert into business and we succeed in that are. So what is required of us to be able to excel in our careers? Of course we need to complete our studies with good grades but we also need to understand the professional requirements for that career. The emerge of the coronavirus has come as a major disruption to the world, to organizations and to individual careers.
It is changing many things. One of the key things we have seen changing is the way we meet. The zoom meetings have come up and are showing us that it is possible to meet virtually. As school going children and indeed in universities, found themselves at home.
Many organizations, many schools resorted to online teaching and learning. In the business world,while online marketing, online purchasing had already started, and we have the amazon and Alibaba as some of the huge organizations are in online business. The coronavirus pandemic has brought to our attention the need for us to rethink how to avail and deliver goods and services to our customers. This is also impacting on proffessions and individual careers.
Peoples’ careers will not be the same after the corona virus pandemic. Many changes are going to take place and this will call for a paradigm shift. What is important is that there are new skills that will emerge as part of this change and the consequences of the pandemic. This means that the original skills in all careers will no longer be sufficient. New skills must be taught. But what are those skills, professions and careers that we may not see? Twenty years ago in the global setting, the biggest companies were manufacturing companies. Today, the biggest companies are apple, Facebook and google. Google does not produce any physical products and likewise facebook and apple but they employ now a very large number of people. It means, therefore that professions have been changing and thus leading to changes in skills requirement. What is happening in those factories that were manufacturing things, those companies have reduced their skilled labour force instead they have robots. In that situation, they now need somebody who makes a robot, who maintains it and who operates it. You do not need to have people who are going to work on the factory machines anymore.
These are the changing professions and careers. So if you study carefully, there are some careers that are going out. These are careers that are in the processes where you will involve the process of doing something. We need to think clearly about are those careers that are going to be out and those that are emerging. Definitely the jobs of the accountants, doctors, lawyers and indeed many jobs are going to change because anything that can be computerized, anything that an expert system can create can be changed. Expert systems are also available to repair our vehicles and in various professions. So we need to lookout and see there are careers that are phasing out. The careers that are coming in are going to be much more knowledge based.
Information Technology careers, IT skills. In information Technology, we have those who are trying the application and those who are managing the equipment and of course, the cyber security. These are key careers that are coming on board. What does it take to try to be an employee of google, what do you need to be an employee of amazon or what do you require to be an employee of Facebook? These are the new careers that are going to dominate the world. This is a critical moment for all of us, a moment to reflect deeply on how to individually remain relevant in these changing times. “This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50”. Bill Gates.
The author, Maureen Tweyongyere is the director, MUBS Career and Skills Development Centre