Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Engineer as the All-Rounder

The days of specialist careers are fading as employers look for multiple skills as well as in-depth knowledge (see my previous blog on T-Shaped Engineers).  The engineer of the present and future needs to make sure they have a broad range of skills.  A key career skill will be agility - - be prepared to adapt to the changing needs of your industry and to add more strings to your bow as employees demand more. 

The Financial Times covered this important topic in an article on September 25, 2012 by Ian Sanders (Dawn of the devoted all-rounder).  Sanders writes the following about the era of the all-rounder:

"As uncertainty continues to cloud the jobs landscape, the most important skill may be the ability to acquire a new one.  Whereas depth of knowledge of a particular skill was traditionally valued more than the breadth of skills one could call on, a new type of executive is emerging who is adept at mixing multiple disciplines, performing roles beyond a fixed job specification.  Employers and employees alike are starting to recognise the value of a "mash-up", or multiskilled, role.

Not only can plurality deliver greater career fulfilment for the individual, but it can also give a potential job candidate an edge.  "If someone can be good on sales but also good on operations, people management, change management and product development that is particularly attractive in organizations that are smaller," says Mohan Yogendran, London-based director of Rockpools, a global executive search and selection company.

As the job market continues to change, he believes executives who have not woken up to this multiskill world will need to adapt.  "Many people - probably as some point the majority - will be doing jobs that didn't exist a generation ago.  If we think of anyone in digital communications, marketing, outsourcing, IT and most B2B businesses, their roles are a feature of the current climate and don't have direct parallels in the past," he says."

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