Date posted: 27/03/2019

5 amazing ways that careers are changing

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Having the right job and choosing the right career - at the right time - is important. It can have a huge impact on your lifestyle and financial goals.1 When making decisions about your future, it can help to understand the waves of change sweeping across society and the economy. Here are five major trends to consider.

1. Moving beyond borders

The world is getting smaller in terms of international career opportunities and trade.1 Developed economies increasingly rely on individuals - entrepreneurs, employees and researchers - to add value to the economy. Employees and employers see the benefits of working and studying abroad and the career development opportunities that come with that.1 For example, large accounting firms (such as Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY) have offices in numerous countries, offering some employees the prospect of international career moves.

At the same time, free trade agreements between nations have increased in recent decades, helping facilitate international sales of goods and services.1 Besides a long-standing free trade agreement (FTA) with one another, Australia and New Zealand also have FTAs in place (or under negotiation) with many other nations including China, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.2

2. Workplaces are changing

Technology is fundamentally changing the places where people work - but that doesn't necessarily mean physical offices will cease to exist.1 Contrary to speculation elsewhere, Deloitte Access Economics (Deloitte) has argued that workplaces will remain vital for employers. Deloitte points to the power of collaboration and 'clustering' talented people together.3 Indeed, Australian government research indicates that organisations that foster collaboration in the workplace are more than 70% more innovative than those who do not.4

In Australia, we have seen organisations such as PwC radically change their physical working environments to facilitate greater collaboration among employees and clients. Its new offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane took inspiration from airline lounges, tech firms and boutique hotels to build a variety of spaces for people to work together.5

3. Living longer, working longer

Right now, an unprecedented shift is happening. After remaining broadly unchanged for centuries, the age structure of the world's population is changing dramatically.6 The proportion of older people in society is increasing. As people are living longer, they will have to continue working for longer in order to fund their lifestyle.1

"Many children who are ten today can expect to live past the age of 100," says futurist Chris Riddell.7 "This means we need to rethink what it means to have a career. Over the decades, your working life will see you change jobs repeatedly, and you may have multiple careers."

4. Learning while earning

A longer working life means workers will need ongoing lifelong education to hone the changing skills that employers need.8 As technology develops and people switch careers during their lives, transferable skills will become increasingly important. Last year, a Chartered Accountants ANZ and PwC survey of more than 1,200 New Zealand and Australian employers found recruiters were more likely to hire talent with transferable soft skills as opposed to specialised technical skills.8

"The idea that school is a one-off is out the window now," says futurist Mark Pesce. "During careers, what we're going to see is periods of intensive education and periods of less-intensive education, and we will go back and forth between them. People are always going to be learning something."

5. Robots vs humans?

Most people have seen the shocking headlines suggesting automation will destroy jobs and lead to mass unemployment.9 However, artificial intelligence is also likely to create new categories of uniquely human jobs.10

Human beings will remain relevant because they offer qualities that machines do not, argues Dr Natalie Francis, Talent Leader for IBM Australia and New Zealand. "A person has an identity. A person has common sense. A person has morals. A person has creativity. Artificial intelligence is good at providing data and identifying patterns, but humans will always be the ones making decisions about what to do with that."

Article by Andy McLean


1. future[inc], “The Future Of Work: How Can We Adapt To Survive And Thrive”, date posted: 24/02/2017, accessible at:
2. New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade, "Free trade agreements in force", date accessed 23/1/2018, accessible at: and Australian Government, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, "Free trade agreements (FTAs) in Force", last reviewed: 17/11/16, accessible at:
3. Deloitte, "Building The Lucky Country", published: 2015, accessible at:
4. Australian Government Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, "Collaboration And Other Factors Influencing Innovation Novelty in Australian Business", published: April 2006
5. PwC Australia, "New Ways Of Working", published: 2017, accessible at:
6. International Monetary Fund, published: 20/4/04, accessible at:
7. The Guardian, "Great expectations: today's babies are likely to live to 100, doctors predict", published: 2/10/09, accessible at:
8. Chartered Accountants ANZ, "The Future Of Talent: Opportunities Unlimited", published: 15/11/17, accessible at:
9. The New York Times, "The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It's Automation", published: 21/12/16, accessible at:
10. MIT Sloan Management Review, "The Jobs That Artificial Intelligence Will Create", published: 23/03/17, accessible at: