The crevasse filled level playing field of your career (and business).

That local businesses and individual’s careers alike are increasingly being directly exposed to the competitive forces shaped by globalisation is nothing new.  What is, however new is the accelerating rate and unpredictability of change.

Added to the mix are the influences of regional or international trade partnerships and agreements. Whilst these may be very removed from the day-to-day, these effects can be profound over time, depending on your industry and career choices.

The globally powerful vested interests in progressing such agreements are often pitched against local entrenched and incumbent interests concerned about the adverse impacts of the so called ‘level playing field’. This levelling of the playing field is often based on mechanisms such as the removal of import tariffs and other trade restrictions.  The potential influence of the looming Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)  has the potential to reshape far more than your business, however. (** Note: President Trump killed the TPP, however the concept applies: A broad reaching potentially disruptive economic change)

Knowledge is power – but where’s the switch?

Today, however, knowledge is increasingly surpassing the tangible resources as the basis for value creation and competitive advantage for organisations.

Over half of the gross domestic product (GDP) in many developed economies is based on intangible resources. These intangible resources underpin and generate most of the value in knowledge intensive industries which form a key element of what economists call the Services Sector. which comprises a significant part of many developed countries’ national economies. Examples include Australia’s services sector comprising 71% of GDP, United States and the UK both 79%, Japan 73%, Singapore 75% and New Zealand’s 71%.

Now you see it – now you don’t

Knowledge intensive industries have the potential to be located anywhere with access to digital technologies and the internet. Likewise employees whose roles are largely knowledge based can be similarly relocated.

Additionally, digital products and knowledge intensive services can be projected globally with near-zero marginal cost – cutting across incumbent local industries, established businesses, regulatory and legal jurisdictions. The net result being rapid and unpredictable change coming to a knowledge intensive industry near you!

It is therefore more critical now than ever before, for organisations to effectively manage their human capital –   that resource that relies on collective individual capabilities, knowledge, skills, and experience.

Your career’s on the move – just that it’s not upwards

Similarly, for those whose jobs are largely knowledge based,  Anyone whose work, or part thereof, can be performed by others whose physical presence is not required in situ, or can be done remotely by using appropriate technologies needs to carefully consider their career options.

Modern technology has given birth to the mass migration of knowledge intensive industries globally. Without modern technologies, the international call center and back-office processing centres in India, Mexico, the Philippines and other low cost countries would not be possible.

And that’s just the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg of the looming transformation of the knowledge intensive employment landscape.

Riding the next wave

The Special Report published by the Economist (4th October 2014) entitled The third great wave, notes that “The digital revolution is opening up a great divide between a skilled and wealthy few and the rest of society”. How could this impact your career prospects?

A key countermeasure to a career threat is to ensure that you have a finely honed over-the-horizon radar,  carefully detecting, analysing and interpreting the complex set of subtle changes occurring outside of your employer and their industry.

Question is: Can you see these career-shaping changes before your employer notices them? If so, you’re well down the path of career resilience.