Looking to the future: new technologies, new skills

Published on 23/12/2016 in Inspire

Looking to the future: new technologies, new skills

A report from the most recent World Economic Forum states that one-third of the skills that will be crucial within five years are still unimportant or even non-existent today. This impacts on all companies, in all sectors.

According to the report ‘The Future of Jobs’, by 2020 up to five million jobs will have been lost to automation. For the first time, positions that until now have been considered 'safe' are also under threat: office jobs and administrative positions, manufacturing tasks and even lawyers. The cause should be sought in the fourth industrial revolution - also known as the digital revolution - that we are currently going through. 

The tip of the iceberg

Indeed, many new features can already be seen today. Just think about 3D printing or self-driving cars and other forms of artificial intelligence. Mobile data and cloud applications are already influencing the way we work. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Experts expect a huge leap forwards in the next few years. Creativity and emotional intelligence, for instance, are set to become far more important than skills, because these are attributes that robots cannot take over from us. 

What about your company?

There is a real chance that your company, too, will soon be needing specialized employees, perhaps even for functions that do not yet exist. Fortunately, you do not constantly have to go looking for new, highly trained and often expensive candidates for this. First map out what abilities and talents you already have within your organization. Where do you want to go with them in the next five years? 

Think about job mobility and rotation here, too. It is often worth starting up opportunities for lifelong learning now. In many companies, immediate gaps in knowledge and qualifications are often filled by company training courses, whereas you would do better to look a stage further. That way, you can always be sure of staff with the right skills and it makes you more attractive as an employer.

As soon as the digital revolution takes hold in your sector, you will recoup the investments made in training thanks to the positive impact on the company performances. In addition, when recruiting new staff, it is a good idea to think not just about the job for which they are applying now and what skills they need for that, but also about what they could mean for your company within five years. The ideal candidate 'is flexible and learns throughout life’.

Top six core skills for 2020
  1. Cognitive flexibility: ability to link different concepts
  2. Successful negotiation: social skills, unique to human beings
  3. Service-oriented approach to work: an eye for service optimization
  4. Judgment and decision making: analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Emotional intelligence: understanding reactions and responding appropriately
  6. (Digital) cooperation: virtual yet results-oriented approach to work

Source: ‘The Future of Jobs’ report

More information? 

Go to www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs/ to download the report from the ‘World Economic Forum’.


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