The world of employment is changing rapidly. The skills required for the future economy are going to change rapidly over the next five to ten years. In fact, the fourth industrial revolution will happen quicker than anyone anticipated. In a constantly changing world, those who don’t adapt will be left behind. What can we do to adapt? This blog will attempt to demystify the skills we’ll require in the future to remain competitive in the world of employment.

What skills are going to change?

According to the world economic forum, the most desirable skills in 2015 were as follows:

  • Complex problem solving
  • Coordinating with others
  • People Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Negotiation
  • Quality control
  • Service Orientation
  • Judgement and decision making
  • Active listening
  • Creativity

It is predicted that by 2020 advances in technology will change the world through robotics, autonomous transport, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Materials, biotechnology and genetics will impact on everyone’s lives in an unprecedented way. These advances will render millions of jobs obsolete, make others more important and might create jobs that do not exist today. With a potential, shortage of jobs, there will be more competition for the remaining jobs. Anyone seeking employment will have to have a skillset that is matched to these new jobs. This shift will mean massive amounts of retraining for most people, so to remain employable, people will require new skills.

The skillset of the future has been defined by the World Economic Forum as follows:

  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • People Management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Service Orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive Flexibility

As you can see from the two lists, the skills of the future are going to vary from the desired skills of today. New technologies, products and ways of working are going to change everything and workers are going to have to be more creative to benefit from these. Robots will increasingly become part of the workplace and use of large amounts of data will inform our decision making differently. It is even expected that AI machines will sit on companies’ board of directors by 2026.

What implications does this have?

Industry is going to suffer severe disruption as new technologies make existing systems and ways of doing this obsolete.  All sectors will be affected and there will be hundreds of thousands of people who will need to retrain. The way the internet has changed the way we work and live will be minor compared to the changes coming over the next ten years. AI, 3D printing and new materials will become commonplace.

Unfortunately, there will be millions of people left behind if they don’t retrain, so my advice is this: start adapting your skillset now or be prepared to soon because progress doesn’t wait for anyone and the up-skilled and flexible will be the employees of the future.

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