The world of work is changing. Not only are flexible working options such as contracting and freelancing becoming increasingly popular, but the fields that people are trained in are also undergoing a significant transformation.
Freelance writers are now more likely to work on content marketing projects than magazine articles, and IT specialists are increasingly needed for complex software installation jobs than simply showing firms how to use a computer.
Education has altered in accordance, with children learning skills such as coding from a very young age to equip them for a future dominated by artificial intelligence. These youngsters will begin entering the jobs market in just a few years' time, so how can limited company contractors and other self-employed workers make sure their skills are in line with those of the next generation?
Contractors need to start by thinking about jobs that don't even exist yet.
The skills of the next generation
South Yorkshire publication the Star recently reported that schoolchildren from across the region had taken part in an event intended to educate them about the skills they will need for the jobs of the future if a further future skills shortage is to be avoided.
The event was organised by the Sheffield University Transport Innovation Centre and Gaia Innovation, with the children in attendance getting the opportunity to learn about the skills needed for jobs that haven't been invented yet.
For example, they learnt about the knowledge required to build a mind-reading robot, and how science and maths skills may be useful in the field of virtual reality in the future.
Julia Muir, chief executive officer of Gaia Innovation, explained the event was designed "to try to light a spark in the minds of young people to inspire them to look to jobs in the future that might not actually exist now".
"Currently, we have not got enough skilled people to be able to work on these kinds of projects."
So, will the skills that engineering and IT contractors have in today's society still be relevant in the future?
Will existing skills still be in demand in the future?
Of course they will be - particularly engineering, IT and other technical skills, as the future looks to be dominated by increasingly sophisticated digital applications and artificial intelligence.
This trend was echoed in a report published earlier this year by Microsoft Surface and The Future Laboratory, which predicted the job titles set to be created by 2025. Top of the list was virtual habitat designer, followed by ethical technology advocate and digital cultural commentator.
The report also predicted jobs that are likely to become a reality as of 2025 onwards, with these including space tour guide, sustainable power innovator and even human body designer.
With all of this in mind, contractors will need to take the time to make sure their skills and expertise are as up-to-date as those of the younger generation if they want to be able to feasibly compete for contracts with them.
Therefore, they may need to take some time out of their busy schedules to attend training courses and workshops or spend time studying towards new qualifications, meaning they will need a little extra support in running their limited company in the meantime.
PayStream's My PSC limited company service can help with this by providing help and advice in regards to some of the administrative work involved in the running of their own limited company, and helping to make sure it is being run in the most tax-efficient way possible.
As a result, the worker has more time to focus on completing contracts to a high standard and updating their skillset to make sure they are in the best position to compete with the younger generation for the hi-tech jobs of the future.