Category Archives: Professional development

Robots need not apply: a future-proof guide to jobs in the automation era

By Adriana Hamacher

I’ll kid you not, it won’t be easy. Companies looking for fail-safe strategies for the coming years will need to create specialised work environments for jobs that don’t yet exist, in sectors that have not yet been created. A recent WEF study found that 60 per cent of the jobs that will be most in demand over the next decade have not even been invented yet. What’s more, according to some analysts, a large portion of core academic curriculum content is already out of date by the time students graduate. Skills instability is on the up in all industries, with many current roles hard to recruit for.

desktop robot

Image by Matthew Hurst/Flickr

It’s not helpful that the experts disagree on whether automation will have a devastating effect on human employment or not. What differs from previous waves of upheaval, many say, is that the pace of change is greater and its effect is broader; the automation era demands that displaced workers in routine, unskilled jobs graduate to non-routine, skilled jobs to stay ahead, instead of moving to similar-level jobs in other industries as before. Early indications suggest the employment market isn’t evolving fast enough to keep up with this change.

Others argue that automation increases productivity which leads to economic growth and new jobs. In the developed world, 3-D printing will drive companies to bring their manufacturing back to their home countries; self-driving vehicles will give people more time to consume goods and services, boosting demand. Humans and machines will also increasingly partner to great effect. To highlight an example: autopilot didn’t put pilots out of a job; instead it foreshadowed collaboration between human and machine on complex tasks. The increasing popularity of collaborative robots –cobots– is further evidence of this trend.

Capitalising on our humanity

It’s no surprise that, in a technological age, most new jobs will be in specialised areas: computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering. Technology also has a habit of obsoleting itself at an increasingly accelerated pace, so we need more people to create new tech, maintain it and help others use it. We need expertise in design, testing, implementing and refining smart automated systems. AI firms are said to be busy hiring poets to write dialogue for chatbots.

Some jobs are always likely to be better done by humans, especially those involving empathy or social interaction. Research by Deloitte, in the UK, finds that the future workforce will benefit from a “balance of technical skills and more general purpose skills such as problem solving skills, creativity, social skills, and emotional intelligence.” Jobs that fall into these categories – nurses, trainers, entertainers and more – will probably fare well in a more automated world. That’s not to say that AI and robots won’t eventually be capable of performing these roles (in some cases better than humans), but the recent resurgence of artisans in cities worldwide shows that just because something can be automated, it doesn’t mean it will be.

Survival of the most adaptable

But the reality is that in order to keep up-to-date with the latest technological advances, people will need to consistently retrain. Thus the future of work will soon become “the survival of the most adaptable”, to quote Paul Mason, emerging technologies director for Innovate UK. Holding a job for life will rarely be an option.

AI will also require big changes in the way education is delivered, just as the Industrial Revolution demanded in the 19th century. Industrialisation simultaneously transformed both the need for education and offered a model for providing it, prompting the introduction of universal state schools on a factory model. AI could well do the same.

But surfing the automation wave will likely demand more of humanity: a shakeup of our core beliefs surrounding work and its value may be long overdue. “In our fast-changing world where innovation and adaptation are more and more the critical success factors, another increasingly important measure of the effectiveness of an organisation is not just how productive it is but how intelligent it is”, writes Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
“Intelligent organisations will be better able to adapt rapidly to changes in their environment, better able to innovatively take advantage of new possibilities, better able to be flexible and sense and respond to the world and not just do more efficiently what worked yesterday.”

HR’s shopping list for the automation era

This is a snapshot of what’s to come in the next five years, rather than the long-term (for that, see

  1. Machine Learning Specialist: Developing algorithms that can “learn” from or adapt to data and make predictions is a job likely to stay hot for some time. Lots of maths, preferably a PhD, needed.
  2. Interface Designer: Increasingly crucial as systems get smarter, robots become part of our lives and interfaces become more natural, incorporating gesture and speech.
  3. Nano-degree Developer: Traditional apprenticeships typically involve five to seven years of training, which doesn’t make sense if the skills you need are constantly changing. A nano-degree (perhaps in data science or website programming) can be completed in a few months, alongside a job.
  4. Industrial & Organisational Psychologist: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, says this sector, concerned with the study of human behaviour in organisations and the work place, is expected to grow by 53 per cent from 2010 to 2020. In fact, psychologists will be increasingly necessary to help us adapt to automation in every sphere, from trusting a self-driving car to counselling remote military operators.
  5. Neo-generalist: less about “doing all sorts of work”, and more about “connecting everything”. A manager, strategist or system designer.


Automating CV screening results in 15% more women hired

By Harriet Croxton

Business man and woman at a window togetherA professional services organisation that implemented an automated CV screening process to handle the 250,000 job applications they received every year were worried that the automation might undermine their efforts to achieve a healthy gender balance. In fact, the opposite happened. The number of women who successfully passed through the automated process increased by 15% compared to the manual process.

This and other revelations were reported in a recent article from McKinsey, People analytics reveals three things HR may be getting wrong.

Advances in data analysis are helping organisations identify, onboard and reward the best talent, however when analysing this data the results observed are often counter to expectations.

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Lumesse Learning switches on new social channel

By Harriet Croxton

Having had Vimeo as the home to our video content for many years we are turning on an additional channel to give our audience wider access to our video content.

We recognise we’ve a long way to go before we reach the dizzy heights of YouTubers like PewDiePie and the Smosh boys and we apologise for the lack of cute kittens – however  for those of you interested in the latest news, thoughts, tricks and hacks from one of the leading learning and development vendors, it has everything you could wish for.

Our new channel can be found here and on it you’ll find:-

  • Insight videos: The latest thought leadership insights from industry leaders and the Lumesse Learning team
  • Lumesse Showreels: Showcasing Lumesse’s learning products and services
  • Webinars: Recordings of our webinars on products and thought leadership discussions

To give you a taster of what’s on offer take a look at our video on our Bespoke Learning Development. With over 10 years’ experience in creating award-winning learning content this offers a snapshot of some of the projects we’ve worked on for corporate and  public sector organisations worldwide.

And to make up for the lack of kitten videos, irrelevant cute kitten picture coming up.

Cute Kitten

Subscribe today!  Or the kitten gets it!

What motivates self-directed learners?

By Richenda Sabine

Graphic of carrot on a stick to illustrate motivating self-directed learnersWhat motivates you? Is it money, purpose, or something else? According to Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs) our basic needs of security, identity and stimulation have to be met before we progress to self-actualisation (growing and developing to reach our individual potential).

Consider this in the context of learning. Without motivation, learning is rarely effective, so how do you motivate learners in the first place?

The answer, it turns out, is that they can largely do it for themselves.

Daniel Pink, in his book ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us‘, dismisses the carrot-and-stick approach and tells us to forget everything we think about motivating people. He believes that the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and the world.

This view is borne out In the organisational context of today by the phenomenon of the self-directed learner, which has been well documented in research from learning benchmarking experts Towards Maturity, telling us that:

  • 88% learn more by finding things out for themselves, rather than through F2F training
  • 87% know what they need to learn in order to do their job
  • 74% know how to access what they need for learning

The research also shows a worrying disconnect with what some learning managers think about their learners, indicating that it is more than ever important to understand what motivates the self-directed learner.

There are two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic – internally generated and comes from personal enjoyment or from a sense of obligation
  • Extrinsic – generated externally from objects, other people and the environment

The burning question in the world of workplace learning is how to keep these two types of motivation aligned, and not in contradiction with each other, so that self-directed learners stay engaged and motivated.

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Can L&D really think like marketers?

By John Helmer

Man holding sign saying 'Think Tank'Learning professionals are being encouraged to think like marketers in order to meet the needs of today’s increasingly self-directed, peer-directed learners. But doing so can lead L&D into difficult waters.

This was just one of a number of fascinating insights that arose from our latest Think Tank dinner.

We assembled an invited group of L&D leaders to discuss these issues in a three-part discussion held under Chatham House rules. Contributing to the debate were delegates from the worlds of Finance, Mining, Telecomms, IT and commodity trading.

You can read highlights of the discussion here.

But for those who want a deep dive into the third part of this fascinating discussion, read on, as we address the following question:

Part 3: How will technology shape the future of learning in a post-course world?

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Women in leadership: it’s all about the culture

By John Helmer

Business man and woman at a window togetherA new report from HM Treasury and Virgin Money finds that the culture of organisations is stopping women from reaching the upper levels of management (Empowering Productivity: Harnessing the Talents of Women in Financial Services).

According to the report ‘there is a “permafrost” in the mid-tier where women do not progress or they leave the sector’. And issues around child care are not solely responsible: ‘Women are leaving because the culture isn’t right’.

The report recommends that:

  • Every financial services company operating in the UK publishes its own inclusion strategy and its own targets on an annual basis – and that progress against these targets is reported
  • These targets are included in the company’s balanced scorecard and, as a result, form part of the annual bonus outcome for all Senior Executives
  • The inclusion strategy is owned and driven by a member of the Executive team

We at Lumesse welcome this new focus on an area we recently looked into – with a specific focus on L&D and its role in helping to change organisational culture – in our Think Tank event ‘Creating 21st Century Female Leaders’: download a free copy of the report .

Listening to learners could be transformative for L&D

By John Helmer

Man holding sign saying 'Think Tank'‘We make huge assumptions about our audiences and we don’t do anywhere near enough validation of those assumptions. This is something that we really want to focus on now. It’s all about user experience and really getting some proper data … who are our audience? Who is it we’re trying to reach? What kind of people are they? What are their backgrounds? What are they like? What are they not like? How do they want to learn? Instead of looking at a model that might tell us what they think that is 30 years old, let’s actually speak to our learners and really try and understand them. I think that is, potentially, a huge transformation for learning.’

This impassioned plea for a change of attitude in L&D towards learners was just one of a number of insights that arose from our latest Think Tank dinner.

We could be at a pivotal moment for L&D. Though there has been chatter within the guru space for many years about informal learning and 70:20:10, a number of compelling drivers are making it imperative that practitioners now think beyond the confines of the course (if they are not doing so already). This is causing them to focus more deeply on how they connect with and engage learners – but also to change the way in which learning is structured and delivered.

We assembled an invited group of L&D leaders to discuss these issues in a three-part discussion held under Chatham House rules. Contributing to the debate were delegates from the worlds of Finance, Mining, Telecomms, IT and commodity trading.

You can read headlines of the discussion here.

But for those who want a deep dive into the first part of this fascinating discussion, read on.

Part 1: What are the drivers of change as we move towards less reliance on ‘the course’?

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Earthquake warnings for L&D at OEB2015

By Garry Hearn

The Learning Blog welcomes guest blogger Garry Hearn, Divisional Director at Defence Academy of the UK. Garry visited the conference and exhibition formerly known as Online Educa recently, and sends us this report about the seismic changes he saw evidence of there that are shaking L&D.

OEB2015 event, photographed with a fish-eye lensMany readers will recall the last phase of the Cold War in Berlin – when the days of two German states, and a city bisected by a wall, were coming to a close. At that period in the late 1980s the old DDR was experiencing tensions resulting from at least three socio-political movements, analogous to tectonic plates on the move. These moving plates were the masses, the State, and a popular movement for change. Something similar (though on a less momentous historical scale, perhaps) could be sensed at OEB20015 this year; tectonic plates on the move, territorial maps about to be redrawn.

And I was also reminded of the film Good Bye Berlin, about the coming down of the wall and its aftermath … but more of that later.

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Women in learning: get your geek on!

By Ewa Jankowska

The Learning Blog welcomes a guest blogger, Ewa Jankowska from Lumesse Poland, posting on themes that we will be covering over the coming weeks as we share insights from our recent Thought Leadership Dinner on Women in Learning.

Business woman working at her computer

A programmer friend recently told me that men are bound to be better developers, simply because there are more of them. At first I recoiled inside, then looked around at our colleagues. Out of the other 10 in the room all were men. So who am I to argue with statistics that say only 9% of women are programmers?

But wait a minute! How can I – or anyone – believe it to be true that men are better programmers than women? Where do these stereotypes come from? Just because there are more men in this role doesn’t mean they are better. There is also no scientific evidence to support the tired thinking about the different abilities of men and women. In fact, it’s the opposite: scientists have said there is no difference between the male and female brain.

The proof? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied young people of both sexes from 86 countries and found that girls perform better in science subjects in countries where there is greater equality (read the report here). In addition, girls today perform better in mathematics than at any other time in history. If the arguments for men having superior ability in science subjects were linked to gender then no change would be noticeable, but that clearly isn’t the case.

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Under the spotlight: Andrea Miles

By Harriet Croxton

Andrea_MilesShe’s a winner! This year’s E-learning Awards recognised our own Andrea Miles for her contribution to the learning industry, giving her a bronze award. So we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate and share some highlights from her fascinating and extremely successful career.

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