Times of big disruption due to innovation in science or technology come with corresponding mega opportunities and challenges that require both a new mind and skillsets.
Globalisation, technological progress and demographic changes are transforming society and labour markets. This means parents; societies and schools need to manage the transition with the least possible disruption and maximise the potential benefits.
Skill needs have are also changing. This can lead to persistent skill shortages and mismatch which are costly for individuals, firms and society in terms of lost wages and lower productivity and growth. These costs can be reduced through better assessment and anticipation of changing skill needs and by improving the responsiveness of skills development to these changes.
A Deloitte report “Expected skills needs for the future of work” stated that the future of work is being shaped by two powerful forces: The growing adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace, and the expansion of the workforce to include both on- and off-balance-sheet talent. What changes could be in store for the workplace, the workforce, and the nature of work itself?
Complex problem-solving skills top the list. It comprises a collection of self-regulated psychological processes and activities necessary in dynamic environments to achieve poorly defined goals that cannot be reached by routine actions. Creative combinations of knowledge and a broad set of strategies are needed.
Emotional intelligence is second on the list of top skills needed to excel at the workplace in 2020. Emotional intelligence refers to the capability of a person to manage and control his or her emotions and possess the ability to control the emotions of others as well. In other words, they can influence the emotions of other people also.
The third skill set is creativity. This is needed to stay ahead of automation and artificial intelligence. To be creative is to be unique, imaginative, non-routine, and autonomous. Human still beat machines to this.
According to a “Future of Jobs” report compiled by the World Economic Forum, which surveyed top human resources and strategy officers in global companies and compared jobs skills that were projected to be in demand in 2020 with those considered most important in 2015, creativity had moved from 10th to 3rd.
Communication, both written and oral comes fourth. In a world suffering from a deluge of information the ability to combine ideas from very different sources that once seemed unrelated is critical. This means one is able to communicate newfound ideas, to influencers, who can help to shape and implement them.
The fifth is the ability to understand and leverage technology. Technology is changing at an unprecedented pace, so one needs to understand and keep on top of it. Sometimes it is better to read articles in respected technology journals, as books may become quickly out-dated.
For workers in marketing and finance, Structured Query Language (SQL) is listed as one of the top skills to master in 2020. SQL, a programming language, was also cited as the most in-demand tech skill in a recent report from jobs website Indeed, according to Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report.
Although not necessarily listed on the list of top five skills, cultural awareness and sensitivity provides an important framework in the acquisition of these skills. This is because workplaces are becoming globalised, it is important to learn how to get along with those who are different from us, Avil Beckford, founder of The Invisible Mentor said.
There is a lot of fear-mongering happening today, and different groups are marginalised. Imagine what would happen if you explored books that focused on other people and cultures. Read books to understand other experiences.
The broader implication of these new skills needs is that governments, schools, parents and education experts need to find effective ways of embedding these skills in the curricular.