Guest blog by Stephen Forbes, Skillpages.com

“May you live in interesting times” Confucius once said, and we certainly do.  On the one hand, we have economic crises, meaning that many people fear for their jobs.  On the other hand, we have a fast-paced world of technology advancement and in many industries, on an increasingly global stage.  Arguably, we’re experiencing the fastest pace of change since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century.

Companies that didn’t exist 5 years ago are now amongst the leaders in their markets: for instance, Zynga’s rise in the video games sector has been meteoric.  Indeed, there are now market leaders in new billion dollar industries that didn’t exist 5 years ago, like Groupon.  Jobs that were rare or unheard of 5 or 10 years ago such as (Social Media Managers, Mobile App Developers, User Experience Managers) are now amongst the most sought after.  While there are a lot of people with these skills or who want those jobs, there aren’t enough to keep up with the pace of demand.

At the other end of the scale, jobs that are disappearing, systemic unemployment, industries changing location, and sadly, companies going out of business. In many cases, job security is a thing of the past. Because of this transformation, individuals need to adapt, diversify their skills and adjust expectations in order to discover a new form of job security, one based on flexibility.

The impact of this rapid and disruptive force is the emergence (or return) of the Renaissance man and woman, where people are multi-talented and have more than just one area of expertise.  Individuals are up-skilling, cross-skilling and learning entirely new skills to adapt to the transformations in their industries, just to stay one step ahead.

Adaption


Helping to make all this possible is the increasingly connected world, creating online ‘social media’ style communities where people can share their skills and easier for potential employers or clients to find them.  As well as full-time employment, many people are looking at sites such as Skillpages, where they can find freelance, informal or occasional work,  even voluntary work that can help them to build up experience.  So far, over 2.7 million people have registered on Skillpages.com, suggesting that there is a real desire out there for people to pursue new career options.

So, while job security may be a concern, the flipside is that people are exploring other avenues, becoming multi-talented individuals who are making the most of the online revolution to diversify and change careers – in some cases, careers that have only become possible through new technology.  We live in interesting times indeed.

SkillPages is a social directory that brings together a member's real life social connections so they can find skilled people they can trust and also, get found by people who need their skill, since launching just under a year ago over 2.7 million people have joined the platform. SkillPages is a member of BizSpark.