Future career prospects

Career prospects

icould asked 20 leaders across a wide range of industries about future trends and the implications for your career. All of them anticipate constant change, with different sorts of jobs organised in different ways. So how can you prepare for this uncertain future?

Surprisingly, despite the broad range of industries represented in this topic, when it comes to future proofing’ your career, there seems to be a number of common themes.

Love what you do, do what you love

There are numerous stories on icould about people who have found and followed their passion. Trevor Nelson always knew that music was his life and Becky Clarke always cared about climate change and environmental issues. Others, like Eric Lau and Tim Bradley, took longer to find what they love to do.

Find positive people

Sometimes career success is about finding people who want the same kind of things as you. Hiten Thakrar got together with friends who all wanted to learn how to DJ, and Roy Brett turned his back on mates who couldn’t understand his ambition to be a chef.

Learn – continuously

At every stage of your career there will be things to learn. Even failure can be a chance to pick up some useful lessons. Johnnie Boden‘s failure as a stockbroker has driven him on to succeed as an entrepreneur. Phil Johnson has just started his fourth career as a sports therapist. Deborah Morgan left school at 16 to work in a lampshade factory, now she is a biomedical scientist.

Develop a broad skill base

A broad range of skills will help you to secure a new job when you need one. Anna Cowling changed courses at university, volunteered for different conservation charities, became interested in environmental education, trained to be a teacher, did a spell as a primary school teacher and volunteered for an elephant charity in Thailand. As a result she accumulated the perfect skills-set for her dream job as education officer in an animal shelter.


Modern careers rarely proceed in straight lines. Life will collide with your plans. You may have children, make a bad choice, be made redundant, fail an exam or simply have a run of bad luck. Perseverance is essential. Rosie Mullender, a Cosmopolitan features writer, set her heart on studying at Cambridge University – she didn’t get the grades but feels that it all turned out for the best. Shanade Duggon knew she wanted to be a vet but didn’t do well enough at school; she went on to become the first person in Northern Ireland to get a Diploma in Advanced Surgical Nursing.

Think global

Your colleagues and customers can be from anywhere in the world. If you acquire the ability to work internationally through working with different cultures and learning another language, you will become more attractive to employers. Nazia Hussain‘s Masters Degree in Chinese culture and her ability to speak Chinese made her a perfect fit for the role of a Regional Director of Cultural Intelligence at a top marketing agency.

Be flexible

Suzy Kerr Pertic, “╦ťfancied herself as a political revolutionary’ when she pushed the Polish Government to allow her to study in Warsaw. She has taken opportunities as they have come along and is now Pro-Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at London South Bank University. Dawn Neale started as a hairdresser and, after a variety of jobs, is now the art buyer for Boden. Both Dawn and Suzie have kept their options open and have been flexible enough to grasp the opportunities, often unexpected and unplanned, as they have come along.

Employability is the key

While your job may change or no longer be relevant in the future, you can try to ensure that your skills are. With some forethought and planning, and a positive and flexible approach, you can keep yourself employable and future-proofed.