In today’s rapidly changing work environments, with disruptive technological evolution giving rise to uncertain, unpredictable and novel situations and tasks at work, career adaptability is a crucial competence. Career adaptability is necessary throughout our entire life span to successfully navigate career transitions. Career adaptability also increases tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity by increasing flexibility and autonomy.
Career adaptability is defined as the capability of an individual to make a series of successful transitions where the labour market, organisation of work and underlying occupational and organisational knowledge bases may be subject to considerable change (Bimrose et al, 2011). This can be said to be like a surfer reading the direction and nature of the waves and adapting skilfully to ride the waves.
The first step to increase career adaptability is adaptivity or a disposition of being flexible or open to change. Secondly, it is about developing adaptability or competencies to anticipate changes and the individual’s own future in changing contexts. Thirdly, it is about behavioural adapting responses, such as exploration behaviours. Finally, it is the observed fit as a result of the adaptation or the flexibility in responding to the environment (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012).
Four key competencies of career adaptability are concern, control, curiosity and confidence. Concern is about an interest in the future which helps one look ahead and prepare for what might come next. Control is about taking responsibility for one’s career development which enables one to influence and shape it. Curiosity is about imagining and exploring different potential scenarios which opens up new possibilities. Confidence is about believing in one’s capacity to pursue and achieve one’s goals.
Career exploration with a career coach directed towards enhancing the knowledge of the self and the external environment can contribute to increasing career adaptability or capabilities to anticipate changes and the individual’s future in changing contexts as well as behavioural adapting responses.
Career exploration with a career coach that involves the construction of career goals, information-seeking activities, informed decision making and an action plan and possibly a redefinition of self-concept or professional identity can also increase the career adaptability competencies of concern, curiosity, control and confidence.
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