As said by Kahlil Gibran, “To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
Humans have been evolving since centuries, so do their demand and skills in the job market. As certain sections of people start demanding for a particular goods or services, the other section see it as an opportunity and work on the supply side which often results in invention. We need to be vigilant on what’s being demanded in the market at the current moment and prepare ourselves to offer that.
Human resource has become the most vital resource for any organisation. Companies want to retain the best employees because they are the people who can make or break the organization through their skills or the lack of them. The next decade is predicted to be one of particularly intense change. The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that we will need to reskill more than 1 billion people by 2030, as jobs are transformed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. WEF predicts that 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change by 2022. In today’s fast paced world, it’s necessary to be updated with our skills.
Which are the skills in demand and which are the ones that bring more scope and progress in future? Here are five key skills that will help you to adapt to the future job market and will help you to stand out from the crowd irrespective of the sector and experience bracket you are in.
Human beings are social animals, thus there exists a need to connect with others. Emotional intelligence is the ability that shows how well a person connects, which includes understanding and managing your own emotions in positive way to relieve stress, communicating effectively, empathizing with others, overcoming challenges and defusing conflict. If you have the skill of emotional intelligence, then you have higher chances of becoming a leader.
According to Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) “2019 State of the Workplace,” soft skills represent the top three missing skills of job applicants. For instance, skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity are missing in job applicants by 37%, ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity by 32% and communication skills by 31%. Emotional intelligence has been neglected for decades in traditional education methods. In the corporate rat-race, employers were only concerned for tangible outcomes and were missing out on emotional well-being of their employees. But now, people are becoming more aware of this and give greater value to emotional intelligence.
Career fields like HR management, teaching and negotiation where people management is expected require high emotional intelligence. But even if you are an employee in some other field, emotional intelligence will give you an edge over others. Strengthening the social and emotional skills will never go out of style and can’t be replaced by a machine. Hard skills have a shorter shelf life than soft skills. Soft skills are also more transferable across careers and industries.
Now sure how you can sharpen this skill? Start by understanding people around you and developing emotional awareness. Understanding their situation and then respond. Have compassion for others. In short, be human. And mind you, this skill won’t develop overnight but requires daily practice.
Digital Literacy & Computational Thinking
With expanding digitalization, everything is going digital. From school classes to corporate meetings, everyone is online. Tech savvy people are gaining huge respect (and income) in this era. Here comes the need for digital literacy. Using only social media apps won’t land you anywhere but the know-how of different software is important. For instance, trend of graphic designing, video editing, sound editing, digital marketing, web designing, basic coding has been growing rapidly. If you develop such skills, chances are that you will not sit idle. Tech-knowledge also pushes the productivity in any job you are in. These days, nothing is manual but digital, therefore, it has become a need to have computational thinking, which means thinking or solving problems like a Computer Scientist. It refers to the thought-process required in understanding problems and formulating solutions.
While businesses are embracing technology, finding people to fill new tech roles is proving difficult. Research has found that more than 40% of tech job applicants lack key technical skills needed to succeed in the role, highlighting the lack of talent available. There are numerous courses available online to learn these skills. Some of the reputed learning platforms include Coursera, Udemy and edX.
Creativity is not just limited to arts like writing, painting, music or dance. It could be applied anywhere. People are adopting more creative approaches to jobs than ever before. No one wants a monotonous job with same routine. Everyone is trying to get an edge over their competitors by doing something different. Company are experimenting with creative approaches on how to keep their customers happy. For example, when Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited understood that they can’t easily beat their competition by adding petrol pumps, they came up with something innovative. They introduced a training program for their staff on exceling at their customer service. As a result, if a customer is coming to the petrol pump for filling up the petrol, then they provide free air check and car cleaning facilities to boost up customer satisfaction. They are selling the same product as their competitors but a simple creative approach from the customer service angle gave them an edge and helped their revenues to grow upwards.
All you need is a different lens to view the world and thinking a bit out of the box. Schools will increasingly play a role in fostering creativity. Nesta, an independent innovation agency calls for the integration of creativity into the curriculum – noting that countries like Finland, Australia, and Canada are already working on this. Younger generations are digital natives, but there also needs to be a focus on employing these skills with creativity. Creativity comes with practice and perseverance, so do not rush yourself to attain this skill. Let it take its own time.
Data Skills – Data Research & Analysis
The strongest tool of any company these days is ‘Data’. The company which has the largest data, is the king of that sector. Data research and analysis has become a core component of every function. Data collection is the very first step. Companies like Google are dominant players in the market primarily because of the immense amount of useful data they possess. For example, after you search for a particular product on Google, you will find ads of those same products while browsing Instagram or Facebook. Why? Because Google is collecting all that data and using it as a marketing tool to help companies reach out to customers.
Those who are able to collect and organise data, interpret the results, and make decisions based on these findings will be in high demand. Fields like business analysis or data science are run by data but data literacy will be important across all professions. Farmers, marketers, and doctors will need data to make the best decisions. A report by PwC found that 69% of employers will demand data science and analytics skills from job candidates by the year 2021. You can learn these skills from any online platform including the ones mentioned above and keep practicing it. Data skills can be a key asset to boost up your employability in the future jobs market.
Basics of Artificial Intelligence
Here comes the point which is becoming more popular these days. The WEF predicts that data and AI will be one of the key drivers of future growth in the near future. We have already discussed the importance of data skills. AI is the new revolution that’s coming our way. It has the power to change the entire lifestyle of people by creating highly personalised user experiences. Employers and entrepreneurs who are looking forward to revolutionising the way we work and live will need staff with AI skills to develop and implement artificial intelligence systems. Key career fields are machine learning engineering, business intelligence analysis and UI design but AI learning will be highly advantageous in other job functions as well. For example, employees harnessing AI in their operations and managers overseeing and supervising operations through AI. Real productivity gains will come only when there are managers who can use AI to create and capture value. Jobs requiring AI skills command, on average, an 11% wage premium compared to similar jobs that do not require AI knowledge.
More importantly, if you are not using AI in your job, you still need to have awareness of it. For example, labour working in factories could be laid off in future because of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), where companies will be using robots for monotonous work. Call centres could employ software of AI tele-callers (extended versions of Alexa or Siri) replacing thousands of employees. You may not need to use AI in your working lifestyle, but you need to be aware of its consequences on future work environment. That will help you grow into higher order jobs soon enough. Numerous courses are available on online learning platforms where you can hone your skill. WEF has stated that AI and related technologies will boost economic growth, thus creating more jobs for everyone.
Therefore, these are the five key skills which you can look up to. No matter, which field you go into, these skills are necessary and will become a ladder to your success.