Episode 112: The future of work and how to stay employable – with Tristram Hooley

How future-proof is your job?  What effect will the rise in automation have on your industry?  How will the gig economy and globalisation affect your chosen career?

Researcher and writer Tristram Hooley shares how you can anticipate changes in the labour market and stay employable for the future.

Today’s guest

Tristram Hooley

Website: Adventures in Career Development

Twitter: Tristram Hooley

Email: tristram.hooley@gmail.com

Amazon Author Page: Tristram Hooley

Google Scholar: Tristram Hooley

Tristram is a writer and researcher specialising in career and career guidance.  He has published nine books and numerous articles and reports.  He is particularly interested in the interface between career, politics and technology and in how purposeful interventions in the education system can support people to have a positive career.

Tristram holds professorial roles at the University of Derby, Canterbury Christ Church University and the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.  He is also Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Student Employers and Chair of Advisers.  He is on the board of the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, the National Institute of Career Education and Counselling, and the Career Development Policy Group.

He writes the Adventures in Career Development blog at https://adventuresincareerdevelopment.wordpress.com/ where you can find out more about him and his work.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [4:23] How career opportunities shift over time and the difficulties in predicting the future of work.
  • [8:21] How automation will change the nature of work but will not threaten individual jobs.
  • [11:36] Indicators that change is beginning to happen in your industry.
  • [15:09] The importance of recognising your transferable skills.
  • [17:32] The difference between technological and political changes, and when you should resist change.
  • [22:48] How Covid has changed the future of work, and how these changes can be both good and bad.
  • [28:30] How different firms are responding to employees working from home.
  • [31:45] The likelihood of companies offshoring work overseas and what individuals can do about this.
  • [35:44] What you can do to stop yourself from becoming obsolete.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 112: The future of work and how to stay employable - with Tristram Hooley

Jeremy Cline 0:00
Do you ever think about how future proof your job is? Will there still be demand for what you do in say 10 years' time? What effect might automation, the gig economy or globalisation have on your chosen career? These are some of the things that we talk about in this week's episode. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:35
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the show that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. Today, we're going to try to predict the future. You may have discovered your dream job, but is this something which will still be in demand in 10- or 15-years' time? What effect might technology have on your job in the future? What else might affect the future of your chosen career path? To help answer these questions, or at least to help us determine whether or not we can answer them, I'm joined this week by Tristram Hooley. Tristram is a researcher and writer who specialises in career development. Among other things, he is professor of career education at the University of Derby, and is the author of nine books and over 100 papers on careers and related subjects. Tristram, welcome to the podcast.

Tristram Hooley 1:22
Great to be here.

Jeremy Cline 1:23
So, I saw from your bio that you've got a number of different hats and a number of different positions. So, the cocktail party question, what do you say when people ask you what you do?

Tristram Hooley 1:33
Yeah, it's really difficult, isn't it? It'd be quite nice if I could just say, 'Oh, I'm a lecturer', or whatever it is. But I've kind of got all these bits and pieces of different jobs, this portfolio career idea. And so, normally, I think the thing that holds my stuff together is writing. So, I normally say, well, I'm mainly a writer and researcher, and I'm interested in career. And then everyone goes, 'Oh, career, I don't have a career', or gives me their opinion on career. So, that's normally how it goes.

Jeremy Cline 2:04
And how did this become your area of specialism?

Tristram Hooley 2:07
Well, it was not a plan, as I suspect many people you've probably had on here have said. I drifted into it, I started actually doing research on literature, and I did research on the literature of the future, which has stayed as an interest, but I moved out of that and started doing some actual careers work, so helping PhD students to develop their career. And then, I started doing some research again on that, and so, I've sort of then moved into this more education and social science kind of research work that I do now.

Jeremy Cline 2:44
And what was the draw to starting to lean more towards that rather than literature? Was it that you just discovered that you really enjoyed it as you were helping your PhD students?

Tristram Hooley 2:55
Well, I really didn't enjoy literature was the honest truth. I found that doing, I did an undergraduate degree in English literature, and then, I went on, fairly soon after, not straight after, I went on and did a PhD. And so, I had spent somewhere like seven, eight, nine years studying English literature, and it pretty much killed any interest I had at the beginning of it. And I felt like I wanted to do something that was more engaged with the world, and not just sort of sitting in an archive looking at dusty old books that nobody had read for decades. Now, obviously, there's lots of fantastic literature research out there, but it wasn't for me. So, I wanted something that was a bit more sort of actively involved in people's lives. And so, moving into this career's fields started to give me that, I suppose.

Jeremy Cline 3:41
So, a question I see quite regularly asked, it's along the lines of, what career should I pick now which will still be in demand in 10 years' time. And I guess there's an underlying fear, there's an underlying perception that some jobs have a shelf life and might disappear in the future for whatever reason, whether it's automation or societal changes, or whatever it might be. How valid do you think that fear or perception is? I mean, is this something to be concerned about when you're starting out and choosing your chosen career path?

Tristram Hooley 4:19
Well, it's definitely something to think about. I mean, work changes over the time. There's absolutely no doubt about that. So, Alison Wolf has got this brilliant chart where she shows that, at one point, the most popular job that anyone in Britain did was miner. And there were just huge numbers of miners, and hardly anyone was a teacher. And she then looked over the 20th century, and these two jobs basically swapped places. So, by the end of the 20th century, hardly anybody is a miner, and almost everybody's a teacher. And so, you see these shifts happening over time. So, it's definitely right that careers and the opportunities that are available to you in the labour market change. What's a bit less sure is whether we're very good at predicting what those things are going to be. And you know, the other thing that is definitely worth saying, I mean, it'll be kind of one of the main messages that I've got really, is that don't panic about change. Change is a constant factor in life and in career, but so is continuity. So, many, many of the jobs that exist now will still exist in 10, 20, 50 years' time, some won't, but we have to try and kind of move our way between those two possibilities as we move through our career.

Jeremy Cline 5:38
You talk about how difficult it is to predict what might happen, say over the next 10 years, do you think it's helpful to look at what history has told us? So, things like the agricultural and industrial revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries or, more recently, the shrinking of manufacturing, you mentioned the coal mines, how many of those have closed, the shift to the service economy, more recently, the rise of the gig economy and zero-hour contracts. Does all this tell us anything other than just to sort of emphasise your point that, yeah, things change? Or are there any patterns? You know, they say that history doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes, do you think that there's any lessons that can be drawn from looking back at previous industrial markets?

Tristram Hooley 6:32
Yeah, I'm a bit less convinced, people talk about this idea that we're going through a fourth industrial revolution, and I'm sort of a bit sceptical that we can take things from previous big shifts, so the beginnings of industrial, the factory system, or the sort of telephone revolution, or whatever it might be, and just read them onto what's happening now. But I mean, there are some things that, when you look at all of those trends, are worth thinking about. So, one is that work doesn't always disappear. Sometimes it moves. So, when you say, well, you know, manufacturing has declined, well, manufacturing hasn't really declined, but what it has done is shift where in the world it happens. And then, there are other things where, sometimes yes, sometimes work does get replaced by machines, or by changes in taste, or whatever, and you can look back at that and think does that give us some clues about what the future might look like, and definitely, it does. So, yeah, I think history is a useful guide, and again, it reminds us often that many of the jobs that we still recognise today were jobs that you can take right back to the Middle Ages. So, there is a lot of continuity, as well as a lot of change, so we have to kind of attend to both of those things, I think.

Jeremy Cline 7:55
How concerned, if concerned is the right word, do you think people should be about automation? I mean, I'm a lawyer by background, and one of the things that I occasionally see in the press is, well, you know, pretty soon, most of the jobs that lawyers do, so perhaps more routine stuff, contract drafting and that sort of thing, you won't need the lawyers anymore, it will be done by a computer. Do you think that's realistic, something to be concerned about, something to guard against?

Tristram Hooley 8:21
Yeah, I think it's something to pay attention to. But my guess is these things don't happen particularly quickly. And because, if you looked at one job 30 years apart, you would see, firstly, that probably the proportion of people doing that job in the labour market would have shifted, it might have gone up or down, and the other thing is the nature of that job probably would have changed quite a lot. So, my father was an architect, when he started, it was pens on a massive board and so on. By the time he finished, it was all on computers working with CAD software, and so on. So, the nature of work changes, as well as its kind of size or composition within the labour market. But that doesn't mean that that's necessarily a threat to an individual. Because an individual should, if you're able to kind of read the labour market a bit, you should be able to see some of those changes coming, you should be able to think about retraining where necessary, and that's probably more likely to be within your current occupation, than it is to be shifting to something completely new. But of course, there are occasions when you do need to do that. And people sometimes do need to shift to something completely new. But it's quite rare that it just happens completely overnight, without any kind of warning at all, which I think is often the way the media sort of presents it, that you're going to be sitting there doing your job as a lawyer, and the next day, there's going to be a robot in your seat and that's it, you're on the scrapheap. Hopefully, we have the ability as human beings to adapt, to change, to learn new things, and we need to kind of make use of those capabilities really.

Jeremy Cline 10:07
It's one thing being aware of the idea that something may change in the particular labour market in which you've got a job, but another to recognise that it's actually happening and to take positive steps. So, you've mentioned training, looking at alternative options. Can you maybe give an example or two, but perhaps, things that have happened in the past 10 years or so, where you've seen those sorts of changes happening, and what the indicators were that people should be taking account of, that should make them think, 'Oh, okay, I can see that there is a change here, maybe I should take a step back and think about how I can go along with the flow'? And I'm thinking particularly in corporate terms, there's the companies that just didn't catch up. So, you know, classic examples like Kodak, or RadioShack, Kodak, in particular, was still producing film and just didn't catch up with the fact that digital was the way forward. So, I guess what I'm asking is, if you're doing your day-to-day job, what kind of stuff should you keep an eye out for, that's going to indicate these changes?

Tristram Hooley 11:32
Yeah, I suppose the first thing I'd say is that I wouldn't put all of the responsibility onto the individual. If, for example, a large-scale plant closes down, that's the main provider of employment in a particular area, then you can't really just say to individuals, 'Well, you know, you better just learn something new and do it', because there isn't necessarily something to do in that area. So, you also would like to see organisations and governments playing a role in this kind of management of the shifting patterns of work. But I think you, as an individual, one of the things that you're trying to do is you're trying to understand what the prospects are in your particular area. And that's really about career management, isn't it? It's about thinking, 'Well, I have a career, I'm not just in a job, and the job will provide for me forever, and that's all there is. I expect, in my life, I will probably do more than one thing.' And there might be a number of things that are quite closely related, you might get promoted, or shift into a new area, or there might be things that are quite different. And it's worth individuals thinking about those things and trying to manage those things actively. And that can range from, at one end, one of our friends is a plumber, or an electrician, and if I watch him work now, he is, firstly, incredibly skilled, but also doing lots of things, he's always on the internet, always using a lot of technology in his work. And so, you know, that's kind of, I suppose, what I would describe as sort of work composition, the details of your work change, and you have to be willing to kind of recognise that sometimes things that you do now, you would do in a slightly different way. You might use a computer, you might even use some kind of automation to help you do that. I think it's a much bigger decision if people start to think, 'Well, maybe this bit of work is either coming to an end', I can see that we're not going to be extracting fossil fuels forever, I can see that in some areas of highly routine work that there will be automation that will take that over. So, you know, typists will be a good example of where we've seen that, in really recent history, typist was a really big job, lots of people did it. Now, people who were typists were able to retrain and become word processor, operators and so on. It wasn't that there kind of skill set was completely useless. So, we need to kind of think about those things like transferability, adaptability, willingness to retrain, willingness to use different technologies, and so on. So, I think there's skills that individuals and approaches that individuals can use that can make it much less likely they're going to have problems in their career, and much more likely they're going to be able to manage sort of shifts and changes that will inevitably happen.

Jeremy Cline 14:41
So, that's a really important point that you've made about transferable skills, because even if you are in a particular niche area, say engineering with a focus on fossil fuel extraction, which might be something that disappears over the next 50 years, then you're going to be still a highly-skilled engineer, and presumably, it's likely that those skills will transfer to something that's at least in the same ballpark, say in renewable energy or something like that.

Tristram Hooley 15:09
Yeah, I mean, I think that's absolutely right. And people do need to recognise the importance of thinking in a slightly more abstract way about what it is they do. And it would be very easy for me to have thought at one point in my life, 'Well, I'm a university lecturer, that's what I do.' But I've been able to think, 'Well, actually, no, I've got a lot of skills that might be useful to me in other places.' And so, I've moved and done kind of essentially similar work, but with slightly different aims, slightly different purposes and so on. And I recognise that it's often very difficult for people to think about that. And for your fossil fuel engineer, they might focus on the fact that they've got a particular specialism, they might be really at the top of their game in that. And if they see that coming to an end, that's very frightening. But they've undoubtedly got a brilliant understanding of physics, of chemistry, of engineering, that they can apply in other places. I mean, it's one of the reasons why I'm very interested in career guidance as a part of this, because sometimes individuals find it difficult to see that themselves. And they need some help talking to somebody, to help them to sort of draw out, 'Well, okay, what is it I actually do? What is it I actually could contribute to other parts of the labour market, outside of this kind of niche specialism that I might have?'

Jeremy Cline 16:39
Can I throw you another example? And I know that I run the risk of annoying some people, and I actually don't mean to do that, but I'm just thinking of something like black cab drivers in London. So, up until a few years ago, they pretty much had a monopoly on what they were doing. And they were very skilled in what they did. I mean, learning the knowledge, learning how to get around London was really quite a big deal. Then, the likes of Uber come along, and you still do get black cabs, but the business model has been significantly changed, and I'd imagine that the demand for black cabs has also significantly changed. What do you say to the black cab driver, whose job was basically picking up people and dropping them off around London or other cities?

Tristram Hooley 17:31
So, I think one of the things we need to be careful about is sort of muddling together what's essentially a technological change, and what's essentially a political or economic change. Now, those things are always intertwined, though, and that's one of the problems with it. As soon as you start talking about technology, you're inevitably saying, 'Well, how is that technology going to be used?' And that starts to be a political and economic decision? The example of a black cab driver, well, I suppose the kind of traditional career development answer to that will be, 'Well, get yourself an Uber account, and either learn how to use Uber, or if you don't think that gives you a high enough standard of living because, you know, Uber drivers earn less than black cab drivers, then retrain and do something else.' Now, I think that's not really good enough as an answer, and that we need to also think about, there's a Danish writer, Svend Brinkmann, and he talks about "stand fast". And he says, 'Well, yes, of course, it's important to be adaptable, but we also need to think about when we shouldn't be adaptable, and when we should resist change and challenge change.' And in the case of the shifts that have been happening within the driving industry, that kind of cab industry, we've seen quite a lot of people standing fast and challenging it. And so, the conditions that allow Uber to undercut the black cabs are not their political and economic conditions, and people can argue against them, we've seen places like California, where they've changed some of the laws to make it less easy for them to do that undercutting. So, I think, of course, it's important to think about when to adapt, but it's also important to think about when to sort of stand your ground and to argue, actually, you know, it's important for us to be treated as employees, to have decent work conditions and so on, and to make those arguments at times as well. So, we need to balance both of those things, both the adapt, and that sort of resist, as part of our career management.

Jeremy Cline 19:45
I hear that, but that's going to be quite difficult balancing act, when you've got things like your mortgage and your dependents, sort of depending on you doing that job. So, you've got to think in your mind, 'Well, which way do I go here? Do I make a stand, make the case for what I do, or do I recognise that things are changing and start looking at alternative options?'

Tristram Hooley 20:10
Yeah, absolutely. But I mean, we live our careers and operate our careers in groups and collectively, as much as we do individually. And so, if something is only happening to you, then you haven't got an awful lot of choice. But normally, when we see these changes, especially societal level changes, whether they're caused by technology or politics, or economic recession or whatever, they're very rarely only happening to one person. And so, that's where there's value in making common cause with others, thinking about how you support each other. And that can range from kind of everything, from support groups of people talking about how we're going to manage this change, through to trade unions, and people actually actively taking action together to try and challenge things that they don't like. And with the start of the gig economy stuff, that I think a lot of people see as the future of work, there are lots of people who are not very happy about that. And that would include both quite a lot of workers who would see their living standards being driven down, and also quite a lot of businesses and business owners who don't like having to compete in a market where they feel the other bit, their competitors don't have to abide by the same rules as them. So, it's like the gig economy is not a given that that will become the main economic model on which we're operating, I don't think at all, but it's up for debate. This is where the most important thing is how society manages this, how we regulate these things, and also how consumers behave. And those are the things that are really difficult to predict.

Jeremy Cline 22:01
Looking at the current situation, so when this episode goes out, we're going to be sort of 18 months, two years since the COVID pandemic started. Do you think the pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event that is going to have a fundamental effect on the way many of us work? Or is it something that's just accelerated the existing trends, like remote working? Or is it something which we're going to look back on it in a couple of years' time and realise that, really, it hasn't had all that much impact at all?

Tristram Hooley 22:40
It's really difficult. So, it's probably a bit of both. I mean, I'll tell you about some work that I've been doing which doesn't answer this, but gives some useful intelligence really, which is, so I've done quite a few studies, I don't claim to be able to predict the future, what I've done quite a bit of is looking at what other people think the future is going to be, and trying to see the patterns in that. Now, that doesn't mean I always agree with it. But I did a study, maybe three years ago, or something like that, and the future for them was all the stuff we've been talking about. It was all robots and gig economy and all of that sort of stuff. And everybody was saying this is what's going to happen. And I was always a bit sceptical about the speed that people saw change happening. I've just done another study, which was basically a similar approach, I just read all of these different reports of people like the OECD and all these big consultancies, Deloitte, and you know, all of these people put out. And the future now looks really different. And so, that should tell you something. You know, COVID has come along, and it's changed what we think is possible. And so, all of a sudden, home working, remote working is the number one top issue, everyone's talking about it. And that doesn't mean it will necessarily happen. Certainly, a lot of energy and thought is going into, both in companies and in governments, and amongst individuals within their own careers, about how they feel about that, and whether that's what they want to do. So, my guess would be that, actually, when you look at the graph of home and remote working, there will be a bit of a jump around COVID, it won't stay at the level it is now, but it probably won't go back as low as it was. Now, what the implications of that are, there's both some positive and negative implications to that. But I think the question is, if COVID was a short-term shock, which is what we all thought it was going to be at the beginning, then my guess would have been we would all have gone back to where we were before, ultimately, there's this sort of thing that people call return to the mean, where, any shock that happens to any system, it tends to kind of go back to where it was. But because COVID has gone on for such a long time, and it doesn't really, whatever Boris Johnson says, it doesn't really look like it's about to finish, I think, probably, it's quite likely that it will drive some quite important changes, and now, the future of work now will be different to what it was three or four years ago. I think that that seems very likely to me.

Jeremy Cline 25:19
And potentially, in positive ways as well. I think people are realising that there was a certain amount of unsustainability in the gig economy, and just the way we were working generally, be it from an environmental perspective, or from a societal perspective, with inequality. So, maybe, and perhaps I'm clutching at straws but I hope not, this could be quite a positive thing if society generally reassesses where we are.

Tristram Hooley 25:48
Yeah, I mean, that's what you hope, isn't it? You always hope, when people talk about the new normal, that's what they're all saying. The new normal is basically whatever I believe to be the best way of doing things before the crisis is how I think it should be after the crisis. But yeah, so I think there's definitely, it's been a political shock, as well as a public health shock and a labour market shock. So, there are going to be changes going forward. How we decide to manage those is going to be quite a big issue. And there are definitely things that are not necessarily entirely good or bad. So, home working is the most obvious one, really, where for people like me, it's probably, I mean, I'm bored to hell of being at home, but nonetheless, actually, I've got the kind of capability to work from home, I've got a reasonable space to do it in, I've got an existing network that I can draw on and so on. For a young person going into the labour market, it's going to be much more difficult. How do you build up that network? How do you get sort of socialised into the workplace, and so on? So, something that could be good for me, could enable me to behave more sustainably, spend more time with my family, might be bad for a young person, might be bad for a woman who feels more pressured into being at home to look after kids, and therefore, perhaps is penalised at work from not being always there. So, you know, the consequences of these things are not always straightforwardly good or bad, and home working, I think, is one where we're really only at the beginning of thinking through what could be quite a big change to how work is organised.

Jeremy Cline 27:38
And I think it's the social aspects, which is the most important and perhaps, to an extent, overlooked. So, if you do have a new joiner, who hasn't been into the office in 12 months, and so has only met a handful of colleagues over video calls, and hasn't had the opportunity to walk around the floor and see the people who they, might not necessarily interact with on a day-to-day, but they're useful for them to know. I mean, that's something which, certainly from my own experience, seeing people in my own company, that I just don't think we've quite got right yet. And perhaps, that's one of the next challenges that employers have got to figure out, is if you're going to have more of a shift to remote working, how do you onboard people and create that sort of cohesive team?

Tristram Hooley 28:29
Yeah, I mean, it's really big challenge, and different firms are approaching it in different ways. So, on one hand, you've got people like Goldman Sachs, who are just saying, 'We want people straight back to the office.' And then, at the other end, you've got firms, and including some pretty large firms, that think, 'Why we got all this real estate in London? We've been working absolutely fine for the last year, we could definitely slim down our head office, we could potentially recruit from a wider space.' But then, the implications of that are quite, as you said, quite massive, really. I mean, how do you run training? How do you run informal sort of mentoring and socialisation? How do you ultimately build some kind of sense of a company or organisational culture? Which is important for individuals. I mean, I often think about this from the point of view of individuals, because I'm sort of interested in career, if you think about it from the other end, one of the things that people teach you in business school is that you have to spend time thinking about what kind of organisational culture you want to build, and that that will enable you to become more productive and so on, if everyone's aligned to that, well, making all that stuff happen when everyone's sitting in their bedroom is an awful lot more difficult, I think, and that requires some serious thought.

Jeremy Cline 29:55
There's one more threat, I suppose, that I'd like to cover, which links to what you were just saying. And this is the idea that, with remote working, your labour market is not necessarily geographically limited. And there are certain professions where you have to be qualified in a particular jurisdiction. So, law being a classic example, you can't call yourself a solicitor unless you are qualified and admitted to the role in England or Wales as a solicitor. But there's lots of other extremely well qualified and highly skilled professions, where that's not necessarily the case. So, IT perhaps being a classic example, coding, web development, programming, that sort of thing. And one of the things that's certainly been talked about as a result of pandemic is the risk that companies start to think, 'Well, hang on, why do I need to continue to pay wages that enable my staff to live in a high-cost-of-living area like San Francisco, when I've got potentially equally talented, equally motivated people who are living in Eastern Europe or South America or Southeast Asia?' Again, is that something that those who are in those professions, sitting in their high-cost-of-living countries need to worry about? And what can those people do themselves against being sort of pushed out by people who can do the job as well as they can, but in low-cost-of-living countries?

Tristram Hooley 31:44
Yeah, I mean, it's really interesting, because it's got both that kind of worrying element of offshoring, where you're thinking, 'Well, actually, all of a sudden, we can much more easily offshore elements of our activity without offshoring the whole of it.' So, it was a big decision for all of those organisations that pushed their call centres to India or wherever, that was a big decision, it required investment in plant and so on. And it's not such a big decision if you're just offshoring one role. And so, that's, I suppose, a worrying element, especially the more positive element is that the labour market in Britain is sort of dangerously skewed towards London. The economy is dangerously skewed towards London, and all political parties agree with that, and that's where you get things like HS2, coming out as an attempt to try and address that, and you know, George Osborne with his northern powerhouse, and you know, there's been so many of these things. Well, all of those schemes that we've always had in the past are all been about a large-scale infrastructure investment. So, we're either relocating the BBC to Salford, or we're building a massive railway or whatever. If it becomes possible for somebody to live in Leicester, as I do, and work in London, much more easily, without having to commute backwards and forwards, then that potentially has quite a positive impact on the British economy. And certainly, firms are thinking a bit in that direction. I think they're actually, from the conversations I've had with employers, they're much less certain about the international side of it, on a kind of small scale. So, they're happy to open the job and maybe say, 'Well, you don't have to be based in London to do this job.' I think they're less convinced that, for all sorts of reasons, immigration, tax, there's a whole load of regulatory things that sit around that, that make it quite difficult for firms to make those decisions. And government has got, I suppose, a role to think about whether it wants to make those things easier or harder, and whether that's in the interest of Britain and of workers here. It seems to me that a lot of the direction of travel is not in that direction, actually. So, government is probably, or this government is probably unlikely to make it much easier for people to offshore large amounts of work. So, yeah, I think that's where we get some interesting stuff going on, if geography really does start to melt, and it is a it is up for debate whether that will happen, but if it does start to melt a bit, then it does open up, again, both some positive possibilities, and some quite challenging ones, where people just send things to the cheapest person anywhere in the world, and you get downward pressure on wages and so on. So, in terms of what individuals might do about that, again, I think the thing is always to be thinking about both those sort of, you know, understanding the big picture, keep an eye on these things, recognising that there might be changes in legislation and the economy, that might make these things more or less likely, so paying attention, but then, thinking about the full range of strategies you've got to respond to that, which are both the resist side and the adapt side, and trying to work out where you play those two off together.

Jeremy Cline 35:22
And building on that, what's say one thing that anyone can do tomorrow, build into a regular routine, to help prevent themselves from becoming obsolete, that they can always find employment in something?

Tristram Hooley 35:42
Oh, yes, okay. So, one thing, I suppose, it's the foundation...

Jeremy Cline 35:47
I'll give you two, if you want.

Tristram Hooley 35:50
I mean, I suppose if you said the resist and adapt, then you know, the adapt thing would probably be training, it would probably be developing skills and focusing on that side of thing. I mean, it could be, I suppose, just knowing, just paying attention, I mean, actually, probably, if we're going to have one thing, let's say pay attention to what's going on, what's going on in your industry, what's going on in the government that might affect your industry, what's going on in the labour market. Just pay attention, even if you're not looking for a job, pay attention to what jobs are being advertised, what skills they have. That is probably the one thing. From there, we move to lots of other possibilities about strategies of how to respond, but unless you know what's happening, you probably haven't got any chance of building any kind of credible response. So, yeah, I think it's pay attention to your sector, your industry, and the jobs within it.

Jeremy Cline 36:51
Keep your eyes open. Fantastic. If anyone wants to dive more into, either the future of work or careers more generally, are there any resources which you can recommend people take a look at, be it books or maybe quotes which you found particularly useful?

Tristram Hooley 37:10
Yeah, I found Nick Srnicek, so Srnicek and Williams, Inventing the Future, to be a really great book. I thought that it really looks at a lot of these ideas, especially things like automation, and it challenges some of the orthodoxies of them. So, if you wanted to read a book that would probably challenge your thinking about what the future is actually going to look like, and one which really puts the idea that we've got choices, and we've got political choices as well, about what sort of world we want to live in, at the heart of it, then their book, I think, is really, really excellent.

Jeremy Cline 37:51
And where's the best place that people can find you and discover more of your own content?

Tristram Hooley 37:58
Yeah, if you want to find me, then Adventures in Career Development is my blog. So, if you just put my name Tristram Hooley, or Adventures in Career Development into Google, it should spit me out one way or another.

Jeremy Cline 38:11
Well, I'll certainly put a link to your blog in the show notes for this episode. Well, Tristram, thanks so much for coming on. I'm hoping that people will find this episode quite reassuring.

Tristram Hooley 38:22
I hope so. Yes.

Jeremy Cline 38:24
Brilliant. Thanks so much.

Tristram Hooley 38:26
Thanks for having me.

Jeremy Cline 38:27
Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Tristram Hooley. I felt pretty optimistic by what Tristram had to say. There's no doubt that the world of work is changing and will continue to change. But Tristram's right that it's virtually impossible trying to predict what's going to happen in 10 years' time, and in particular, what in 10 years' time the demand for your own career or profession might look like. So, the message I took away is that, if you particularly want to be a lawyer, or an accountant, or whatever it might be, then go ahead and do it, and don't worry about what that profession might look like in the future. Yes, keep an eye on the direction of travel. Yes, make sure that you build up those transferable skills. But don't reject a career out of hands just because you have this perception that it might not be so valued by society in 10- or 15-years' time. Even if what you do does radically change, then you'll still have the transferable skills to evolve with it. You'll find the show notes for this episode on the website at chandgeworklife.com/112. That's changeworklife.com/112. And on the show notes page, there's a summary of everything we talked about, Tristram's contact details, a full transcript of the episode and links to the resources which Tristram mentioned. And whilst you're there, I've been asked what you can do to help support the podcast. Well, if you found the show useful and the content valuable, there's a number of ways that you can help support the show and keep it going in the future. And that might be by leaving a review or, if you can, making a financial contribution. You'll find all the ways you can support the show at changeworklife.com/support, S-U-P-P-O-R-T. That's changeworklife.com/support. So, if you'd like to support the show and help it keep going, then please do check out that link and see what you can do. There's another great episode coming your way next week. So, subscribe to the show if you haven't already, and I can't wait to see you in next week's episode. Cheers. Bye.

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