Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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Developing career resilience

3 Why is career resilience important today?

We hear news stories of economic crisis and employment problems on a daily basis, and people’s expectations of a ‘job for life’ have changed. Evan Davis, presenter of The Bottom Line, explains that a new face can be just as useful to an employer as an old hand. The tricky part is to get the balance right, whether you are an employee or an employer.

Activity 5 Why is career resilience important today?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch the video ‘Evan Davis on … jobs for life’, and note down what Davis thinks employers value about long-term employees and what employers value about new employees.

Download this video clip.Video player: Evan Davis on … jobs for life
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Transcript: Evan Davis on … jobs for life

Some people hark back to an era when we all apparently had a job for life. Now they say well, we’re all much more promiscuous, we jump around a lot more, it’s all far more short term. Of course, there’s a little bit of truth in that view, but only a little bit. The median worker in the UK stays in a job for about four years. That is lower than it used to be, but it’s not a lot lower.
But what’s the right amount of time to spend in a job? When does the long service become too long? I asked myself the question because when I’ve started my current job, I thought I’d be in it for a couple of years before moving on to bigger and better things. But I’ve been around for 15 years.
But for the employee and for the employer, there’s a sort of balance to be struck, isn’t there? The employee wants to stay in a job only as long as it pays well and is rewarding and fulfilling in other ways, too. For the employer, well, you want people who’ve been around a long time. You want some grey hairs, don’t you? People with an institutional memory.
And maybe that’s why employers typically rewarded loyalty. Their pension schemes have been skewed towards long-serving workers. But employers have to be careful not to let that go too far.
They don’t just want grey hairs around. They don’t just want people who can remember how we used to do it, because that will lead to companies becoming stale. They’ve got to make sure they’ve got people coming in with new views, new ways of doing things, lessons from outside.
So, the correct answer to how long is the right amount of time to serve is, there is no correct answer. Companies need a balance. They need to make sure they have some people who’ve been around and some who are new. That’s my view, but you can join the debate with The Open University.
End transcript: Evan Davis on … jobs for life
Evan Davis on … jobs for life
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In the video, Evan Davis mentions that long-term employees add value because of their experience in the job, their ‘institutional memories’. This is why long-term employees are often rewarded for their loyalty.

He says that employers also want new employees because they bring new ways, views and ideas into the business from outside.

He concludes that ideally there should be a balance between the two.

For many employers, whether an employee is a new arrival in the team or more experienced is less important than whether they provide the skills required for the organisation at that time. This can result in the apparent contradiction of redundancies in one part of an organisation while there is new recruitment of staff with a different skillset in another.

Technological change not only has an impact on traditional industrial and manufacturing employment, but is also rapidly influencing the way in which many administrative and service sector jobs take place. Even professional careers that have been seen as slow to change – such as accountancy, medicine, law and architecture – are experiencing increasingly rapid technological change. Organisations and the people who work within them are making changes to respond to new social and technological environments. Employers are seeking a flexible workforce where individuals are able to adapt to change and learn new skills and ways of working – employees who can demonstrate resilience in the face of rapid change.

The wider context is that there is no longer a job for life in one stable organisation where the employer manages career development for each employee. Everyone is now responsible for their own career development in a world of organisational and labour market change. But most people still work for organisations, so how do personal and organisational responsibility for career development match up?

Activity 6 Talking about change

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Take a moment to have a conversation with a friend, family member or work colleague about the technological and social changes in the area in which you work or are interested in.

Make a few notes about the changes in working environments you have identified. You will look back at these notes in Week 3.

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If you find it daunting to learn about these changes, you might find it helpful to think of the new technologies you have mastered in the last few years. How did you do this? From learning to programme the TV to using phone apps or Twitter, even small examples can encourage you further.

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