In October 2017 I wrote Evolution is Unstoppable, an article demonstrating how customer loyalty doesn’t last forever.  Loyalty is challenged when people have the luxury of choice… often the new options are better, faster and cheaper.  At that time, Holden had just ended its Australian motor vehicle manufacturing and the once mighty “Roaring Lion” was being left for dead in the car sales market, with such a huge range of competing brands and models from which to choose.  Holden’s parent company, General Motors, deemed it was no longer viable to make cars in this country.

Now, just over two years’ later, General Motors announced the iconic Australian motor company will cease to exist in the near future.  In fact, the brand will be “retired” from sales, design and engineering across Australia and New Zealand by 2021.  This will inevitably result in many people losing their job.  Some may retire, but most will be flung into the job market.  My hope for these people is that they have accumulated a range of skills during their time with Holden that are transferable into another company or industry. 

Transferrable skills

Working in the staffing industry, I regularly interview people who have recently been made redundant due to cost reduction programs or companies falling into administration.  During interviews, I always ask job seekers about their key transferable skills, that is, their ‘hard and soft’ (ie. technical and behavioural) competencies.

Hard and soft skills are the abilities that your current or future employer will find most valuable in you.  What are yours?

Here are some examples to help you identify your transferable skills. Check out The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2020 for more ideas.

Hard (Technical) Skills

  • Ability to generate and close a sales opportunity
  • Ability to write software code
  • Ability to produce engineering designs
  • Ability to interpret and apply accounting standards
  • Ability to create and execute an effective marketing campaign
  • Ability to manage a project from start to finish

Soft (Behavioural) Skills

  • Ability to identify problems and come up with workable solutions
  • Ability to work with difficult stakeholders to achieve outcomes
  • Ability to communicate specialist material to laymen
  • Ability to inspire a team
  • Ability to be resilient and maintain motivation in the face of adversity

Avoid Becoming a Dinosaur Employee

“I wish I learned how to….”  This is not a statement you want to be making after you’ve lost your job.  The easiest time to get a new job is when you already have a job, but the demand for certain skills changes as technology continues to impact employment.  Therefore, learning new skills and taking the mindset of continuous improvement is the best way to ensure you don’t become a dinosaur employee who can’t get a job when one is needed. 

To avoid this, try making a list of your skills and think about how marketable they are.  Are there similar jobs in your industry or in other industries that you could walk straight into?  Are people like you in demand?  Hopefully you answered “yes” to these questions, but if not, it might be a good time to identify what skills you could and should add to your repertoire.

If you don’t know where to start, feel free to make contact with our team or talk to a career expert or trusted advisor.

About the Author

Ben Walsh

Ben is General Manager – Recruitment at Optimum Consulting Group, an Australian employment advisory firm.  He has been actively recruiting and managing teams for twenty years, with industry experience gained in Australia, Canada and Ireland.