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It’s 2020. But when it comes to skills in the workplace, experts suggest think long-term. Research by McKinsey shows that by 2030, technological, cognitive, emotional and higher cognitive skills will rise in demand. As a result, professionals will need to strengthen their existing skill sets or acquire new skills.
Automation, artificial intelligence, block chain are no more separate from businesses in various industries; they are an integral part of the business, or rather, they are the business. The fourth industrial revolution is here. Let’s see what it's skills landscape looks like.
According to McKinsey, the technological skills in demand are:
Basic digital skills: These are a must for those in the job roles of administrative assistants and desktop publishers. For employees, this means upgrading their digital and computer skills by way of online courses and learning from colleagues. Employers could help set up learning programs for their employees within the office or outside.
Advanced IT skills: As technology changes at the speed of light, it is a must for software developers and network administrators to keep up with all that is new in tech.
Advanced data analysis and mathematical skills: With data being the key resource for businesses, statisticians and operations research analysts will need to upgrade their analysis and mathematical skills to harness the power of data and analysis.
Technology design, engineering and maintenance: It’s not just businesses that are undergoing digital transformation, customers, too, are demanding enhanced digital experiences. Highly skilled engineers, robotics experts, and product designers, would be in high demand across industries.
Scientific research and development: At the core of discovery, innovation and advancement, are scientists of all kinds. One of the key skills in demand in the IT industry is advanced scientific research and development.
Marry hard skills and soft skills
Are hard skills enough to get through the complexities of work in the IT sector? According to the Stanford Research Institute, 75% of long-term job success depends upon soft skills mastery, and only 25% on technical skills. An article in Forbes reasons that businesses need human problem-solvers, empathetic leaders, and professionals who are thoughtful communicators, among several other essential skills that balance tech skills. In short, right brain abilities in professionals in the IT industry.
Let’s look at key soft skills in demand:
Advanced communication and negotiation skills: Efficient communication and negotiation skills are a must for job roles such as sales representatives, marketing managers, team leaders and managers. How else can a sales representative explain technical processes in clear, easy-to-understand language to customers or co-workers?
Creativity: A Bloomberg report ranks creativity as one of the most sought after skills by companies. In the AI age, creativity is imperative at all levels within the organization. The ability to consistently come up with new ideas and solutions to problems is considered highly creative and as is the ability to be spontaneous.
Emotional intelligence (EI): Megan Beck and Barry Libert, technology consultants and authors, suggest that EI is going to become more important with the rise of AI. They say, “Skills like persuasion, social understanding and empathy are going to become differentiators, as AI and machine learning take over other tasks.” What must professionals do? Invest in building skills that help them relate to, persuade and motivate others.
Consistent learning: In the IT industry, processes and methods change rapidly with new innovations. So the question is, are professionals able to learn and up-skill constantly to keep pace with change? The Economist deems life-long learning as critical to a business’s earning potential. In short, be a learner for life.
Now that you know which skills are in demand and will help you stay future-ready for work opportunities, are you excited to be an updated version of you?
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