Why it Pays to be Adaptable: Tips to Future-Proof Your Career [INFOGRAPHIC]

April 7, 2014

You see your dream job posted on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, it’s located halfway around the world and it’s just not the right time to make a big move.

You have all the right skills for a challenging opportunity, but it’s in an industry you have little knowledge of which makes you nervous about applying.

A role opens up at your current workplace in a different department - you’re really interested but you just don’t have time to speak to HR.

Many of us have, or will be, faced with similar situations during our careers. And for most of us, it ends with regret. We tell ourselves “I will definitely go for it next time.”

This is poor talent alignment in action – skills not being applied where they are best suited or where they could be most productive.

It’s obviously an issue for us as individuals – as well as for employers – but have you ever stopped to wonder what these decisions mean for the broader workplace?

LinkedIn has, which is why we asked PwC to explore why some countries are better at matching people with the right opportunities than others, and how it can be improved.

The study Adapt to Survive combines data from LinkedIn's 277 million members and PwC’s database of over 2,600 global employers to show that there is huge variation in the ability and willingness for employees to move to wherever their skills are best suited. Employees in The Netherlands are most able to do this, largely due to its multilingual workforce and diversity of international businesses, while those in India and China appear to be the least able to adapt, which can be explained in large part by the lack of sector diversity in those countries.

So what does this mean for you as a professional?

We found that employers in adaptable countries reported greater productivity from their people, which benefits everyone. In fact, if all 11 countries were as adaptable as the Netherlands, there is an opportunity to tap into an incredible US$130 billion in unrealised productivity.

By talking to employers, one thing stood out. They value adaptability and are increasingly relying on online professional networks to seek out people with the right skills both externally and internally while improving their ability to reskill their existing workforce.

So how can you improve your adaptability so that you’re always in a position to move your career forward? Here are 5 tips to future proof your career:

  • Over half (53%)2 of employees surveyed by PwC recently said they would work in a less-developed country to gain the right experience, so don’t dismiss the opportunity and be bold. Organisations will look for individuals who have a global mindset and are open to change, curious and proactive.
  • 90% of employers are using social recruitment tools like LinkedIn to find talent3 - Connect, build and maintain your online professional profile because it’s what recruiters are using to look for potential employees. The quality of your online presence has never mattered more if you want to stand out from the crowd.
  • Seek out adaptability – Talent in some countries can more easily re-skill and move between sectors, our study showed that the Netherlands is the best place for this, followed by the UK and then Canada. Future workers consider themselves much more as citizens of the world so if you're picking up new skills in a country that isn't quite as adaptable and not rewarding you for learning new skills, look to one that is.

The ability to adapt is one of the most sought-after attributes in employment today, so stay ahead of the curve by investing in yourself, building your online professional profile, and being bold.


  • 1 PwC 17th Annual Global CEO Survey
  • 2 , 4 PwC Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace
  • 3 PwC: Adapt to Survive