Become part of history 

Employers in the UK added an extra 179,000 staff between December and February this year, taking the number of people in work to a record high. Employment reached 32.7 million during the latest quarter, which is the highest level since records began in 1971. 

Of course, people were working long before 1971. In fact, the notion of humans having jobs can be traced back more than 12,000 years to a time when some clever clogs became the world’s first farmers. This Neolithic period – also known as the New Stone Age – would lead to farms and permanent homes being built, thereby creating a need for the first construction workers. 

As agriculture became more sophisticated, men and women across early Britain began taking on different duties to ensure they could harvest and store food between growing seasons. 

A few thousand years later we had entered a time when many work skills were being passed down through families and via apprenticeships. Often guilds were created to share these important talents, control trade and, not so positively, create barriers of entry to outsiders. 

Fast-forward to today and the modern workplace is a world where there seems to be a job title for every human action – and the jobs market itself is thankfully more open and welcoming to candidates from many different backgrounds. 

Technological change has also reshaped the workplace continually over the past two centuries since the original Industrial Revolution. Digital technologies and automation are constantly developing and, even as they replace some traditional jobs, they are also continually creating new work opportunities.  

In fact, it’s estimated that one third of new jobs created in the past 25 years were types that simply did not exist before, especially in areas such as IT development, hardware manufacturing, mobile app creation and IT systems management. 

So just how do the types of jobs we do now compare to those our grandparents would have done? 

Let’s take a look at healthcare first. If our grandparents had donned doctor’s or nurse’s uniforms, they would have been entering a hands-on profession where all medical notes were handwritten, and surgical techniques often resembled basic carpentry. 

The digital revolution that brought us smartphone doctors and electronic medical records has transformed this world. Today the health sector sees vast amounts of patient data collected, managed, analysed and shared. Every visit to the GP, admission to a hospital or surgical procedure carried out relies on the sharing of up-to-date and accurate information. 

Without this high level of online connectivity, today’s health professionals simply couldn’t do their jobs so well.  

It means digital healthcare is a thriving sector, especially here in the UK, with career opportunities ranging from roles in new software development to managing complex admin and appointment systems.  

This focus on tech also leads us neatly into the growing world of modern IT, where network managers, ICT support technicians, systems developers and service desk operators are all busy bees, looking after business and personal computers, email systems and a whole host of mobile communication systems.  

The digital era has also been busy transforming how we operate in many other job sectors. In a world where we’re becoming increasingly connected online and linking in real time, it’s a simple fact that improvements in modern technology have changed the way most of us live and work. 

In areas such as marketing, financial services and admin, for instance, staying competitive means having a strong digital skillset – using the cloud to improve data storage, security and sharing, harnessing the power of social media to build brands and boost sales and using online platforms to ensure employees are all kept in the loop. 

In production and manufacturing this enthusiasm for digitalisation is swiftly leading to a new atmosphere of innovation in which everyone – from the factory manager to the apprentice assembly line worker – can play their part to use new tech and ultimately boost business. 

The rise of the digital workplace is also allowing today’s generation of workers to take a more personal approach to choosing rewarding careers. 

Another truly seismic shift in the history of jobs is the fact that many more women are choosing to enter a wider variety of professions – often in areas that have been traditionally dominated by men. 

Although much still needs to be done, technical skills, such as those offered by studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, combined with soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving are making a huge impact – opening doors and promoting gender equality in offices, laboratories, factories and construction sites.  

An extra boost to the drive for greater uptake in STEM subjects recently came in the form of the STEM Clubs Programme, which is now offering £250 grants to all UK schools and colleges. It’s hoped the grants will help enrich students’ learning and enhance their enjoyment and participation in lessons. 

It’s one more important step in the ongoing jobs evolution.  

We’ve certainly come a long way from the New Stone Age… to a time when today’s job seekers can make history with roles available in a huge range of sectors.