7 crucial things we learned about the Future of Work (GLS 2019 recap)

By Tiffany Leong posted 11-15-2019 10:56

Future of Work panel at the 2019 Global Leadership Summit
The Future of Work panel at the 2019 Global Leadership Summit in Chicago, Illinois, USA

On October 31, the nearly 400 students who fought through record-breaking cold (and a small snowstorm) to attend this year’s Global Leadership Summit in Chicago arrived with loads of energy and enthusiasm—and they were rewarded with a packed schedule of eye-opening presentations, and ultimately a whole new perspective on the future of work.

Here at BGS HQ, we’ve been blown away by the responses to this years’ GLS on LinkedIn and on our chapter schools’ blogs (like Jennifer Carolan’s awesome post for Michigan Tech), and we want all our members to learn from the event.

Here are the top 7 things we learned about the future of work.

1. It’s not as gloomy as the media makes it out to be.

Technology and AI won’t take over the world tomorrow, but it will definitely change how you do your job every day. For example, you can expect to see AI complete repetitive, manual processes, which will free up your schedule so you can focus on more important things.

2. Yes, jobs will be eliminated by technology—but that’s not the whole story.

We’ll see new jobs added as well—jobs we can’t even imagine yet! Experts suggested future job titles like digital currency advisors, agile supply chain workers, augmented-reality journey builders, digital cultural commentators, and ethical technology advocates will become prevalent.

3. Don’t focus on the specific job title you want; think about what you want to accomplish.

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution marches on and technology changes how we work, jobs will change and evolve. Get to the core of what you want to do in your career, and then find the terms and responsibilities that line up with it.

GLS red team 3 takes a group selfie
GLS red team 3 gathers for a group selfie

4. Make sure you’re developing the *right* skills.

Focus on transferable skills and competencies—communication, creativity, technical, leadership, critical thinking, teamwork and multitasking, according to Forbes. These skills will always be relevant, no matter what job you have.

Branch out and expand your other skills, even if your employer won’t pay for the training or give you the time to pursue it. Sign up for online training programs like Skillshare, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera or MasterClass (to name a few).

Even if you can’t afford to pay for online classes, there’s this thing called the internet, and these other things called libraries—if there’s a will, there’s a way!

5. Embrace change—don’t shy away from it.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said it best: The only thing that is constant is change.” You'll need to be able to adapt to the changing needs of your job and industry. You'll need to take the initiative to learn new technologies and competencies. Watch how other companies and industries are using tech, AI, and other tools and strategies to be more effective and efficient in their jobs, and see how it could apply to you.

6. You’ll need global awareness (and sensitivity) to navigate the world of tomorrow. 

Don’t assume that everyone around you has experienced the world the same as you have. Make it a point to spend time with people who are different from you—socially, racially, politically, professionally, etc.—and learn from each other. Make an effort to understand their perspectives and opinions and recognize what makes you different and what makes you similar. You’ll become a more effective and globally minded leader AND a more empathetic human being.

Mawi Asgedom and Ana Dutra at the 2019 GLS
The GLS 2019 keynote speaker, Mawi Asgedom, with Ana Dutra

7. Never. Stop. Learning.

"Lifelong learning" was one of the phrases that came up many times over the weekend. And for good reason! It’s up to you to stay competitive in this rapidly changing world—no degree will inherently do that for you. Get involved with your local BGS alumni chapter and keep up with us at BGS Global HQ to help you keep your skills current—and to determine what skills to learn next. (No alumni chapter in your area? Contact us to get one started.)

TL;DR: The experts we heard from at the 2019 Global Leadership Summit understood how important it is to be able to adapt to the changes ahead. So make sure you have the knowledge and experience to keep changing and improving yourself along the way.