According to the 2016 report by the World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital disruption and evolving business models over the period 2015–2020 will result in a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost, concentrated in routine white-collar office functions such as office and administrative roles. On a positive note, there will be a total gain of 2 million jobs in computer-, mathematical-, and architecture- and engineering-related fields. Knowing this, it would be in your best interest to clue yourself in on the skills that you will need to be relevant in the future. Here are the top six:
1. Technology and computational thinking
With digital disruption affecting industries across the board, it’s to be expected that skills in technology and computational thinking would be high on the in-demand list. With the amount of data and information available to companies today, the ability to manage and analyse massive amounts of data and present findings coherently will be valued. Related jobs include software developer, computer systems analyst, market research analyst and marketing specialist.
Advancements in healthcare and medicine over the past century have greatly raised life expectancy and consequently, as many people live longer, the need for caregivers is also expected to rise. While automation features prominently in healthcare today – thereby changing delivery methods – the demand for the human element continues to be strong. On this note, the importance of having soft skills such as social and emotional intelligence and cross-cultural competencies cannot be emphasised enough. Related jobs include medical assistant, medical technician, medical secretary, physical therapist, workplace ergonomics expert and home health aide.
3. Social intelligence and new media literacy
While robots can be trained to acquire soft skills, it will probably be some time before they are capable of exhibiting traits that depict social and emotional intelligence and cross-cultural competencies, which are skills at which humans naturally excel. It’s also important to understand the various traditional and new media platforms available today and how to communicate effectively through them. Related jobs include sales and retail representative, marketing specialist and customer service representative.
4. Lifelong learning
With rapid advancements happening across all industries, it has become even more important for individuals to continue learning. Being relevant is the key to future-proofing your career, and to be relevant requires you to keep on learning. As we move into the future, there will also be a shift in how we learn, and this is where educators play a really important role. Teachers, trainers and other educators across all fields will be in great demand.
5. Adaptability and business acumen
Grab and Uber have been making waves in the transportation industry for quite a while now and their popularity with the masses does not show signs of waning anytime soon. In fact, they are now branching into other areas such as food and grocery delivery, showing a clear understanding of current and future trends and demands. The rise of the “gig economy” is not by chance, and if current business performance is anything to go by, it is set to stick around for the long term. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to have a strong understanding of how businesses operate and be able to adapt to the fast-paced and ever-changing professional environment. Related jobs include management analyst, accountant and auditor.