Workplaces will look totally different in the not so distant future. The gig economy is becoming more prevalent each day and AI is replacing jobs previously carried out by humans. This is sure to impact all aspects of workplace culture including team structures, working hours and office layouts.
Of course, it will also have a huge impact upon the skills sought out by employers. Soft skills are integral and often prioritised over qualifications. The employee who once thrived at the office could find themself totally lost amidst a new landscape. One which is more unpredictable and connected than ever before.
Let’s take a look at some of the skills being sought after in the future of work.
First and foremost, contracts are harder to come by than ever before. Companies have started outsourcing more jobs to contract workers, rather than their own staff. ‘Piece work’ and short term contracts have become the norm. Therefore, having your finger on the pulse of what’s going on and having the courage to self promote are more important than ever before. For instance when it comes to those employed in creative industries, there are less opportunities in large, traditional companies. Self promoting and branding is crucial, and social media plays a key role in this. Expanding one’s network and obtaining opportunities through contacts will be more important than ever before.
In the future of work, our problem solving skills are sure to improve as we figure out how on earth to pay the rent! In the AI era, problem solving skills will become more essential as human logic and reason are more necessary than ever. For example, imagine a piece of technology used to operate on hospital patients. Without a person analysing the results and conversing with doctors – it could be dangerous! Computers will never replace humans’ ability to negotiate and make decisions.
Research by Oxford University has shown that the ‘half life’ of a job skill has dropped from 30 years to 5 years between 1984 and 2014 and continues to decrease. In the future, the most valuable employees will be those who are most willing and eager to constantly retrain. Venture Strategist and Chief of Innovation at IBM, Kim Smith, has introduced measures that support constant employee retooling. People can rotate in and out of jobs and departments under her lead, “They can be in one role for a period of time, then go to something completely different” she explains.
Considering the amount of employees working remotely is set to increase massively, time management is sure to become more necessary than ever before. Employers need to know they can trust you to meet a deadline, even if they’re on the other side of the world! They will want to be sure you’re capable of maintaining a healthy work/life balance while avoiding burnout on your own. One essential aspect of time management is the ability to mine information at speed.
In the future of work, you’ll no longer be working alongside just people who live in the same area as you, or who graduated from your college. Understanding customs, language and the social etiquette of other nations will help you to get employed. As workplaces globalise, this is important in dealing with consumers, colleagues and clients alike.
AI is still a long way away from rivalling humans’ ability to understand one another, emotional intelligence is a skill that’ll be sought out for years to come. How well you assist those on your team, cooperate on projects, follow superiors’ and manage others are all attractive qualities in a new recruit.