The Skills you Need to Learn to Make yourself Ready for your Future Job
By 2030 experts expect that robots will replace 800 million jobs. So how do we, humans, protect ourselves from becoming completely obsolete? Rather than focus on the negatives, maybe it is more useful to think about the skills we can build on rather than trying to directly compete with the machines. The human qualities will really define jobs of the future. Our empathy, our divergent thinking, our creativity. The increasing capability of technology may actually make our work more human. While this prediction would make industries such as banking, law and accounting susceptible to automation, professions relying on ‘the human touch’ – doctors, teachers and care workers – are generally much safer. According to recent surveys, a third of the global workforce may need to retrain to avoid losing their jobs. Here we want to find out which skills we need to work on to boost our future employability.
Businesses and development take place between meetings, in the hallways, in the conversations. To remove human interaction from work would be to drastically limit our potential for progress. Understanding how best to communicate in different situations is a nuanced skill that will take more than an algorithm to perfect. ‘Our ability to connect with and communicate effectively with people, not just locally but globally so appreciation of different cultures, approaches and the strength that comes from this diversity is increasingly vital,’ business coach Colette Reilly says. ‘Jobs that are able to be replaced by robots will be replaced by robots, up and re-skilling isn’t a preventative measure that will stop change. ‘Ensuring we develop the above skills means we are gifting ourselves the capacity to embrace new opportunity.’
Companies believe that the emotional wellbeing of their employees is a vital component in their productivity. ‘Technology is brilliant and will allow us to create jobs we can’t even predict today,’ careers coach Sherry Bevan says. ‘However in order for businesses and people to get the most out of technology, we need to be able to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, as well as recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. ‘At the end of the day business is still about people.’ It seems like emotions are the things that algorithms are finding it most difficult to replicate. ‘The main thing that differentiates us from machines is the emotions humans have that robots can’t possess,’ Bethany Fearn, senior consultant at TMI Resourcing, says. ‘Our emotions are what makes us passionate and creative, which are arguably two of the most invaluable skills in driving your career forward.
Think about the impact of inspiring leadership. A rousing team meeting can transform your day, galvanize the workforce and instill you with a deeper sense of purpose. For leadership like this you need eye contact, you need someone who can read the room, someone who can intuitively understand what motivates their team. ‘Even robots need visionary leaders,’ says Sherry. ‘Leaders who can successfully inspire, motivate and hold the vision for the business and for the employees, in the hard times as well as the good times.’
The ability to connect with an audience through nothing but words is vital in sales, advertising, marketing and news reporting. It is not just about writing accurate sentences that make sense grammatically, it is about the evocation of emotion. There have already been trials where bots have written near-perfect news copy for websites, but when it comes to human stories, they still need a human hand. ‘Good copywriters for websites and for social media will always be in high demand to add the people story and the human content.’ argues Sherry.
Critical thinking, creativity and collaboration (the three Cs)
Dominic is certain that the way to ensure human survival in the workplace is to work with the developing technology, rather than fearing it. ‘It’s important to think about complimentary skills with automation, rather than thinking about how to outcompete automation,’ he tells Metro.co.uk. Learning how to work alongside technology will become a critical skill and applying the “three Cs” will be key to this. ‘Critical thinking in a world of ambiguity and nuance is becoming vital, particularly with the rise of misinformation. ‘Practically, things like information literacy (understanding sources, source credibility assessment) and ethics skills (especially connecting, interpreting and imagining concepts relating to ethics) are worthwhile skills to be developing and honing coming into the new decade.’ Bethany from TMI Consulting thinks human empathy is a skill that shouldn’t be overlooked. ‘So long as there are people to be serviced by the careers we have, there will always be a need for people on the end,’ she says.