It is said that the fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, self-driving cars and quantum computing are no longer fantasies of Hollywood directors – it is today’s reality. Technological innovations are advancing rapidly and changing the world around us by transforming the way we live and work.

They have opened up new opportunities, created new markets and stimulated economic growth.  We can’t ignore the downside of it though – intelligent machines such as AI and automation have made some occupations unnecessary and changed the skill requirements of many jobs.

The most in-demand occupations nowadays did not exist 5 – 10 years ago and the pace of change will only continue to accelerate. It is predicted that 5 years from now 5 million jobs will be taken over by automation. It may sound daunting, but just like every previous industrial revolution, jobs will be sacrificed, but new ones will be created to replace the ones lost. Thus, in order to compete in the market, individuals will need to upgrade their skills since traditional competencies will no longer suffice.

Estimates reveal that 65% of children entering primary school now will end up having completely new occupations that presently are not around. In such a rapidly changing employment landscape, the ability to adapt and prepare for future skill requirements is very critical for individuals, businesses and governments.

What skills will we need to thrive?

As technology is advancing, soft skills are becoming more and more valuable as they cannot be replaced by Artificial Intelligence or technology. The Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum revealed that the top ten skills that will be most desired by employers by 2020 are the following:

  1. Complex problem solving: The report by WEF revealed that 36% of all occupations across all industries will consider this a core skill.
  2. Critical thinking: As automation increases, the need to have humans who can employ logical reasoning will increase. The future will require humans who will be able to assess the uses of the power of technology and use it for the benefit of all.
  3. Creativity: With new technologies constantly revealed, employers will require creative individuals who can apply the technologies to new products and services.
  4. People Management: Demand will increase for individuals who will have the ability and knowledge to engage and motivate people, develop the skills and talent, and recruit the right employees.
  5. Coordinating with others: This skill will require individuals to collaborate, adjust and be sensitive towards others – in other words, be easy to work with.
  6. Emotional Intelligence: This social skill is the ability to be aware of others’ reactions and understand why people react the way they do. Social skills are important in the modern labor market because computers are still very poor at simulating human interaction.
  7. Judgment and decision making: Being able to consider the negatives and positives of a decision and choosing the right one.
  8. Service Orientation: This is defined as actively looking for ways to help colleagues.
  9. Negotiation skills: This skill will be in high demand in occupations such as data analysis and software development.
  10. Cognitive Flexibility: It is the ability to transition our thoughts between various concepts an perspectives and being able to process them simultaneously. HR can help employees develop this skills by encouraging them to go out of their comfort zones and learn new things.

Future Proof Careers

According to Indeed, there are nine jobs that are less likely to be taken over by technology:

  • Chef: Intelligent machines cannot combine creativity and manual skills the way a human can, thus a chef will be always in need as people will always enjoy experiencing going out dining and exploring new flavours.
  • Marketing & Design: Creativity and critical thinking is an important component of marketing, and machines aren’t great at it.
  • Healthcare Professionals: Human Interaction is a requirement at this profession and requires strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Education & Training: Teachers will always be on high demand as learning from a human makes a bigger difference than learning everything remotely.
  • Cyber Security Expert: London is one of the biggest centres for cybersecurity organisations. An increase in cybersecurity job postings and that fact that employer demand for these roles are three times higher than candidate interest means that it is unlikely robots will be replacing humans anytime soon.
  • Human Resources: Soft skills such as emotional intelligence and the ability to read people is something that robots can’t do and this is why we require humans for this profession.
  • Delivery and Logistics management: Delivery drones might start delivering our posts however humans will still be required to oversee and manage.
  • Data Scientist: There’s a limit to what robots can do with algorithms and code, thus humans are required to apply their scientific expertise.
  • Gig Workers – variable: Gig work is on the rise and it requires individuals to be independent and flexible – something that machines are not good at.

Technologies will continue to help industries innovate and it’s up to us to take advantage of these opportunities. Robots can be more efficient in completing tasks than its human counterparts, however, they still lack creativity and emotional intelligence – and this is what sets us apart!

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