I turned 40 the other day.
As an entrepreneur in the digital marketing space, I thought I was young, trendy, and at the forefront of new thinking. Turns out, I’m no longer quite so young.
So, I did what anyone would do when they have this realisation: Live vicariously through those around them. This month, I decided to catch up with Rachel Matela, one of our new hires who has recently joined Pure SEO out of university. I picked her brains about the future of work, and here’s what we came up with.
There will be change
Rachel is in a unique position to speak about the future of work, as her most recent jobs before Pure SEO were all in retail. Throughout her studies, Rachel worked in a range of retail roles, and was acutely aware of the growing conversation around disruption and change. “Every year, more and more of our sales were moving online. People came to the stores less and, when they did, they’d already done a bunch of research comparing products online.”
There’s a reason why Rachel didn’t pursue a career in retail. Ultimately, she believes that much of the retail industry will become extinct, moving towards online shopping and automation. The remainder of the industry will survive by focusing heavily on customer experience—providing that uniquely human element which can never occur through a computer screen.
It’s about human skills
Rachel has a clear idea of the value she’s intending to add in the future.
Having studied English language and literature, she joined Pure SEO as a Junior Copywriter, because she sees this as a uniquely human area. Sure, there are programmes and algorithms coming out that can generate content, but there will always be a demand for genuine, human content.
“Things like thought leadership, critiques, and creative thinking, just can’t ever be automated. That requires human input, the kind of thought that can’t be programmed.”
Rachel’s advice to her own generation and those ahead of her is to focus on developing a niche skill that won’t become redundant. “Look to master something that uses your humanity. Tasks which are repetitive and easily automated will be in the hands of AI in a matter of years.”
While retail as we know it may be declining, there will always be a space for the artistic skills – from entrepreneurship, through to quality copywriting. As a newly blooded 40-year-old, I’m encouraged by Rachel’s views.
Yes, there’s change afoot, but with the right focus, we can make the future of work still work for us.