The Future of Work and the Skills You’ll Need to Succeed
Technology is changing faster than ever before, and many technological advances are playing out in the workplace. Quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) technology, robotics, as well as blockchain technology are each helping to automate some of our most mundane tasks. But what does this mean for the workforce as a whole? There is no doubt that automation will transform the nature of work in the very near future, but does that imply workers will be permanently displaced?
The Skill Shift
According to the World Economic Forum, the short answer is no. In fact, we can expect to see a substantial net gain in the number of jobs that will need to be filled by 2022. What we will see is an acceleration in the demand for new skills, while low-skilled jobs will likely disappear more quickly. In other words, automation will make some jobs redundant, but skilled work will become more important than ever. By 2025, up to 50% of the manual labour that is performed today will be done by machines, but the demand for human-specific skills will also grow exponentially.
The McKinsey Global Institute also predicts that we can expect to see a major skill shift take place over the next 15 years or so as automation replaces manual tasks. This shift, in turn, will translate into an increased demand for advanced technological skills, along with well-honed creative, social and emotional skills. The most important skill the worker of the future will need is the ability to constantly learn and adapt to new skill sets.
Three Necessary Skill Sets For the Future
- Technology Skills: People who have acquired advanced IT, data research and analysis or engineering skills will be in high demand as companies seek to employ talented software developers, robotics and scientific experts. These skills will hands-down be among the top capabilities desired in the near future.
- Creative Skills: With technology in the spotlight, it may seem counterintuitive to focus on developing creative skills, but experts say higher-level cognitive skills like creativity and critical thinking will become more important than ever in an increasingly automated workplace. While basic functions like numeracy can be automated, high-quality strategic thinking and the ability to process and communicate complex information will be in high demand in the workplace of the future.
- Social or Emotional Skills: Being great at coding or knowing how to develop marketing strategies will be highly sought after in the future workplace, but what will set some job applicants apart will be their well-honed social skills. These so-called “soft skills” include the ability to learn continuously, being able to manage people effectively and with empathy, crisis and issues management and counselling.
Automation has played a significant role in the workforce since the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century. As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there may be yet again disruption for many workers. Workers who embrace continuous learning, adaptability and who develop both tech knowledge and higher cognitive capabilities will find themselves among the most sought-after workers over the next 15 years.