by Holger Reisinger,
The digital revolution is upon us, and for all of us, it is a do or die situation. But who will be doing and who will be dying will be up to you and me – today!
I was at a marketing conference not too long ago, and while these conferences often do little to truly enlighten the audience, this time “the future” hit me right on the chin. The organizers had invited a 20-something YouTube blogger to take part in a panel debate about digital communication to large audiences. Her work was interesting in itself, but she really caught my attention when she answered a question from one of my fellow dinosaurs about what she would be doing in five years’ time. After the question was asked, she looked surprised, smiled, and said, “I really don’t know. Five years ago my current job did not exist - I am sure that the job I will have in five years’ time does not exist yet!”
Interestingly enough, her answer is the key to the future. So many jobs have changed or disappeared since we started introducing modern technology into the workplace. The postal worker will most likely be next, as licking a stamp and finding a mailbox will soon be a thing of the past. E-mail is simply a stronger business case, and with improved security, it will soon be the norm: to run all correspondence from the PC. I thought to myself that this is just the tip of the iceberg, so I sat down and made a list of all the jobs I could think of that will change or disappear. I am sure that you have plenty more to add:
The HR Manager
Links between the employee and the organization are becoming ever more fluid. Generation M is simply not that interested in the single employer gig that our generation took for granted. Generation M is largely freelancing. This will ultimately mean that the HR Manager will be replaced by the Community Manager, whose networking and engagement skills will ensure that each project is staffed with a winning team, that the corporate image is kept fresh, and that successful projects for your company are valued items in the Generation M portfolio.
Yes! I can tell that you are shaking your head. But the situation is that consumerization will be the future, and we will see a lot more influence on products from consumers than we have seen before, which can have an effect on headcounts in product development. Also, as Generation M grows up, there is good reason to build dispersed ad hoc teams for product development as this generation will insist on freelance gigs and working from wherever they want. It is all happy news! In this way, everyone gets it all: expertise, enthusiasm, and fresh eyes in the development process.
Ha! You didn’t see that coming did you?! I don’t believe that this profession will die out, but web creation systems are getting so good and easy to use that as digital natives enter the work force, more web-based tasks will be transferred from the coding dungeon of the IT team to the height adjustable desks in the sales and marketing department. That’s where needs for quick tactical decisions can be immediately met.
The Social Media Manager
This job has had a good but short run, and it will, like The Coder, have outlived itself quite quickly. The way I see it, as long as the people in charge of businesses and the majority of their employees are non-digital natives, there is a need to manage the social media output. However, once the digital natives come of age, social media etiquette and habits will become so ingrained into employees’ lives that there will be little or no reason to manage them or the things they put out for their peers to see. I expect the few remaining tasks that the Social Media Manager is charged with from day-to-day will not encumber the communications department much.
The great thing about this new reality is that new and better jobs and opportunities will be created in areas we did not even know existed, and I doubt very much that the above professions will find themselves without prospects, much like the young YouTube blogger. As we go, new needs and new experts will fill the reincarnated positions and be much successful, doing just that. In the meantime, I will keep an eye on that blogger and see what future she dreams up for herself…and us!