The era of specialized career paths is fading.
Boomers and the generations before them had the luxury of mastering one skill to ride out their careers. Hiring professionals in the ages after them seek employees with a range of skills.
A few years ago, CNBC published an article that said no specific skill will get you ahead in the future. Say goodbye to specialization in your field. The odds are now in favor of generalists. Expertise in one area won’t die off completely but with the world and tech changing so rapidly, generalists (those with an array of professional skills and know-how will have a better chance of navigating the workspace of the future.
The odds are in favor of generalists.
What is a generalist?
As the article put it, generalists “read the whole paper, not just the section about your industry.”
Generalists have a bird-eye perception. They examine the big picture and how all the moving parts relate to each other before coming to conclusions or solutions.
Generalists are also equipped with more than one tool in their toolbox.
Administrative professionals are an example of generalists. Compared to the acute training endured in careers such as bankruptcy lawyer or cardiac surgeon, administrative professionals, admins, virtual assistants, secretaries, receptionists and personal assistants often support their employers in more than one way.
They run email marketing campaigns, manage social media, pick up dry cleaning, stock inventory, perform cold calls, conduct research and much more.
These professionals remain assets to their teams because of their depth of knowledge and how to support organizations. In short, they know a little about a lot.
Their exposure to different industries, workflows, and leadership styles helps them perform work on a variety of duties.
Are we throwing away specialized training?
Speaking of support, the evergreen trajectory of technology means companies and the employees that support them must continue adapting, learning and applying new skills in their work.
A potential opportunity for advancement in team productivity tools may be with parents in the remote work sphere.
An IT professional with training in app development can manage and troubleshoot the team’s tools but may not see opportunities beyond their specialized training.
But perhaps an experienced office coordinator with a background in several industries can see a more profound connection, specifically with daycare.
A big picture observation may connect daycare feeds to parents’ productivity tools.
Realizing some parents will utilize daycare again even after they continue remote work could be an opportunity for the company to fill a gap in their industry.
Are we throwing away specialist training entirely? Of course not! Mechanics, beauticians, lawyers, and doctors will always be a necessity. But the workforce favors those with an array of skills.
Have you noticed a renewed focus on continued education or diverse professional backgrounds in your job? We’d love to hear what’s taking place in your corner of the world.
Chassidy Michelle | Founder