Leadership

1 in 3 Americans will need to switch careers by 2030—Melinda Gates reveals the No. 1 way to stay employed

The workforce of the future will look very different from that of today. According to research from McKinsey, nearly one-third of U.S. workers will need to find new jobs by 2030 in response to automation and rapid advancements in technology. However, billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates says these stats should not be cause for concern.

"To be successful, every single one of us has to learn new skills — not just once, but throughout our careers," she writes in a recent LinkedIn post.

"Anybody can learn science. Anybody can learn to be a good writer," Gates says in an accompanying video interview. "It may be harder for some people, but that means you put your shoulder against it and you have some grit and you stick with it."

Gates acknowledges that emerging sectors such as robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are already affecting the types of jobs that are available. In light of this, she says that gaining expertise in new industries will be the deciding factor in your ability to maintain a successful career.

"If you're going to switch jobs, getting a little bit of training … will help you with that," Gates explains. "It'll not only help you with the confidence, it'll help you with the skills."

In recent years, there's been an increased focus on skills-based training programs as companies look to bolster their tech teams, including IBM. CEO Ginni Rometty announced in 2016 that the company was making a concerted effort to hire workers based on their skills, as opposed to their credentials, such as whether they attended a traditional four-year college.

"As industries transform," she wrote in a USA Today column, "jobs are being created that demand new skills – which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting."

However, Gates says that a typical four-year liberal arts education will always have a place in the job economy because it teaches students about curiosity, learning and how to face problems. She adds that while certain jobs, particularly those in tech, will require specific skills, other roles will require things like people skills, so having that educational background in terms of how you think, question and analyze will always be important.

The billionaire leaves workers of the future with this word of advice on learning new skills: "You can absolutely do it. You just have to have the confidence to it."

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