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Rethink the message – reskill where appropriate

Chris Sainsbury

Chris Sainsbury, Founder and Managing Director, UX Connections
@uxconnections

The UK Government recently found itself in hot water for its ‘Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.’ Campaign.

The now-cancelled series of adverts from The National Cyber Security Centre, featuring an image of a young ballerina captioned with the words, ‘Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. She just doesn’t know it yet,’ sought to introduce careers in technology to young people who might not otherwise have considered them. However, the timing of the adverts, hot on the heels of news about the Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on people employed in the arts industry, could not have been worse. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has since condemned this particular advert, and made clear that the series had not stemmed from his department.  However, though the campaign was a blunt instrument, insensitively applied, there is, of course, some method in the madness behind the message about the potential for careers in ‘cyber’ or technology more broadly, as news from the World Economic Forum (WEF) makes clear in its latest horizon-scanning document. 

First among the findings from The WEF’s latest Future of Jobs Report, an analysis predicting how the world of work will evolve in the next few years was that:

 “The pace of technology adoption is expected to remain unabated and may accelerate in some areas. The adoption of cloud computing, big data and e-commerce remain high priorities for business leaders, following a trend established in previous years. However, there has also been a significant rise in interest for encryption, non-humanoid robots and artificial intelligence.”

The report goes on to suggest that, of the top ten skills needed in the world of work in 2025, at least three (analytical thinking and innovation, technology use, monitoring and control, technology design and programming) are crucial to careers in the field of technology. Additionally, as 85 million jobs begin to fall by the wayside, a further 97 million will grow in demand, and especially those in tech and digital spheres like the ‘internet of things.’ Plus, half of people working at present will need reskilling by 2025. There are challenges, but also, opportunities, everywhere.

I would argue that nowhere is this more the case than in the world of user experience (UX.) 

As workers consider their next move, and businesses consider how to make their own proposition stand out, it is vital to their success that they apply some serious thought to how their product’s digital interface can succeed; better yet, stand out – and, unlike the ill-fated ‘Fatima’ campaign – for the right reasons. Where better to start that with either recruiting, and maintaining talent either expert in, or willing to learn about the specialism of UX? Their skills will reap dividends, and they might even teach the ‘old guard’ some new tricks too. 

We’re working through a challenging time, but it’s not over yet. And for every challenge, there is an opportunity.

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