Specialists Vs Generalists
Marie Claire South Africa|December 2018

With so many recruiters looking for multi-skilled talent these days, is there still a place for expertise? Lynette Botha weighs in

Lynette Botha

I recently updated my Instagram bio to ‘Jack of all trades, master of some’. I’ve been working in the magazine industry for 12 years and have taken on varied roles – from copy editing to travel writing, the beauty department to management. My jack-of-all trades skill set has worked for me to date and, in fact, seems to be the popular approach these days, with Millennials becoming masters of the multi-hyphen career spec. But as jobs across all industries become fewer, and unemployment rates rise, I’ve started to wonder whether the key to employment security may perhaps lie in perfecting a single skill. As we head into 2019, with the threat of automation and artificial intelligence occupying positions of the future, should we continue adding to our already varied skill sets? Or nurture specific expertise? After all, what ever happened to being an expert?

According to GetSmarter’s The New Professional’s 2018 Career Guide, 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. The guide goes on to note: ‘The old economy prepared graduates to enter the workforce with a qualification behind their name that was expected to equip them with the skills needed to remain relevant for their entire career. The modern economy, now characterised by swift and frequent technological innovation, implementation and change, makes it just about impossible to rely solely on one qualification. The evidence? Global reports show a growing disparity between skills required and skills possessed by working professionals in key roles. It is not that your skills will no longer be required, it is that they’ll be needed in a different shape or form.’

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