As we reach a critical crossroads in the next industrial revolution, with artificial intelligence and technology advancing rapidly, many human skills are irreplaceable. Dealing with challenges with an analytical mind, valuing different points of view, and finding solutions in collaboration with others are just some of the key lessons.
Sander van Noordend, the author of this article, attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) Growth Summit last week, where leaders discussed preparing the global workforce for technological disruption. He left convinced that harnessing human skills is more important than ever.
Creativity and analysis pave the way
Abilities such as creative and analytical thinking, flexibility and agility are expected to be highly valued by 2027, according to the recently released WEF Future of Jobs 2023 Report. This study is based on data provided by 803 companies that employ 11.3 million workers. Humans are much better at thinking, collaborating, leading, and entrepreneurship — skills and attitudes that are difficult to replicate with AI.
In fact, the demand for cognitive skills is growing faster. Problem-solving has become one of the most in-demand skills, and companies often value it more than technical skills. Companies are keen to hire these talents and help them develop the technical skills they will need later on.
At the same time, employers can amplify these qualities by carefully deploying tools that complement people’s abilities. By enabling AI or automation to take over repetitive and time-consuming tasks, workers can improve their talents in terms of customer engagement, analytics, and collaboration. In the HR services industry, AI facilitates talent acquisition in innovative ways. Technology enables sourcing, screening, interview scheduling, and relationship building. These tools allow recruiters to build closer, more personal relationships with talent. The right tools can help people be more effective, efficient and productive. This creates value and gives meaning to work, which also leads to a happier and more satisfied workforce.
Specialist skills are in high demand
The improvement of human capabilities also leads to an increase in specialization. The WEF survey showed that 44% of employers will change their primary skills over the next five years, the highest level since the start of the pandemic. In addition, technology adoption will have the greatest impact on their business transformation, according to 85% of respondents.
These indicators suggest that we need more creative people who can solve problems in emerging and niche areas, such as healthcare, climate change, and environmental management, among others. Randstad’s Global Skills In Demand Report 2022 highlights the recruitment strategy for training. For example, some companies hire programmers with a basic skill set and then give them additional skills to meet future talent needs. This approach increases speed and flexibility while ensuring access to a strong pool of candidates.
Jobs will become more specialized thanks to technology. Take, for example, the auto mechanic, whose role has expanded to include software diagnostics and battery management due to more advanced green-powered vehicles. Likewise, surgeons accustomed to operating with their hands may need to familiarize themselves with robotic technology to provide remote care. Adapting to the changing nature of work is a valuable skill in and of itself, and one that billions of people must commit to.
Specialization also provides significant talent benefits. Given significant changes in the labor market — the World Economic Forum projects a 23% change between jobs created and jobs lost over the next five years — workers skilled in a particular field are more likely to have marketable skills than those with rudimentary skills. Also, professionals are likely to have better earning potential.
Specialization is as important to white-collar workers as it is to blue-collar workers, which motivates everyone to improve their skills. In fact, the fastest growing jobs in the near future are not office jobs. Instead, they are jobs such as farm equipment operators, truck and bus drivers, vocational education teachers, machine mechanics, and repair specialists.
As the world of work continues to evolve and restructure, helping people prepare for what lies ahead will be a huge undertaking. Individual initiatives – whether from governments, the private sector or trade unions – will not be enough. A coordinated and unified effort by all stakeholders is essential. Fortunately, if we are to believe the discussions at last week’s Growth Summit, particularly on the next steps in terms of employment, many players are already collaborating on reshaping and reskilling millions of their compatriots. This is perhaps the most encouraging news to come out of Geneva last week.
Translated article from Forbes US – Author: Sander van ‘t Noordende (CEO of Randstad)
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