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The Changing Nature of Careers

PostedOctober 18, 2017

A generation ago, careers were utterly different. Employees wore jackets and ties, sat in cubicles, did their jobs diligently and retired after working for a company for forty years before enjoying a brief retirement. Nowadays you’ll find people working from home, popping into the office in their jeans for a meeting (where everyone sits on beanbags), and then moving on to a different role within a few years, if not less.

Businesses that fail to adapt to this changing nature of careers will miss out on recruiting the talent they need to progress, innovate and become leaders in their industry.

Here are various aspects to consider about the changing nature of a career:

 Life expectancy

People are living longer these days which means they need more money to retire and have to stay in the workforce for longer. Careers can now be sixty years long, with many older people choosing to work in a consulting manner or changing careers and choosing something that benefits the community in the later years of their careers. Your company therefore needs to offer opportunities so you can benefit from the level of experience that older employees can offer, in the way they want to work (i.e. it may not be 9 to 5).


A few decades ago you typically trained for a certain job and then you did that job for the next forty years. That’s not to say that you didn’t learn new skills as you went along, but typically these were slight adjustments to your skillset as the world was not changing as rapidly as it is now. Fast forward to present day and training and upskilling have become an ESSENTIAL component of people’s careers. Employees want to know they will be able to develop and grow, and as soon as they feel their potential is being stifled, they’ll move on to greener pastures. Training is also now heavily focused in the digital realm, meaning that people can learn at their own pace, in their own time, and still complete all the tasks they need to for their day jobs.

Work/life balance

It’s no longer about all work and no play – employees want to have a well-rounded life where they can take care of family, have time to exercise and enjoy hobbies and still have a fulfilling career. As an employer, you need to address this by creating roles that are flexible, encourage family time and take care of your employees’ wellbeing. This could also include comprehensive medical aid plans, childcare options at the office and offering advice and options that help staff prepare adequately for their futures financially.


Gone are the days when employees stuck with their company through thick and thin, for long periods. These days, people are remaining in their roles for a couple of years, and then moving on once they feel they’ve gained as much as possible from their time there. In order to inspire loyalty, you need to work on instilling a company culture, and you need to ensure that employees feel valued. You can do this in a variety of ways, from practical ideas like team building activities, to the way you communicate, to how the leadership team integrates and engages with the rest of the company. Inspiring more loyalty among staff will lead to lower turnover and reduced recruitment costs.

Ultimately if you’re not changing and adapting, you’ll fall behind – just as careers have changed, so too should businesses. It’s a brave new world of work and businesses need to move with the times.