Universal automation will mean that machines will take over most of the current workplaces in the near future. How to adapt to the new realities and gain competences desired in the labor market, which is now changing the most erratically? This is not only the goal, but also the greatest challenge for the employee of the future. The fourth industrial revolution that we are witnessing caused that not only industrial plants operate differently – the way we work is changing globally.
What are the biggest drivers of change? First of all, advanced robotization, online shopping, the disappearance of the barrier between what is biological and what is digital and of course – access to any information at any time and place. And although all these activities carry risks, they also create many opportunities, irretrievably changing the labor market.
While many conventional professions are nearing the end, a myriad of entirely new jobs are also being created and existing business models are being replaced by new ones. The described transformation has both destructive and creative effects, which is why it arouses extreme emotions in us. One thing is for sure – to get a professional Mount Everest you need active commitment and flexibility to follow the changes.
Is transformation readiness a question of age?
The attitude towards these changes depends strongly on the generation, although each has its supporters and opponents. The youngest who are just entering the labor market (22 years of age and younger) place job satisfaction higher than their earnings, and creativity is their supreme value. Every third person from this generation is sure that the ongoing technological and economic changes will not cause them any difficulties. Millennials are in a similar mood – for them the most important thing is to develop skills and qualifications. Generations X don’t think much of what their future job will look like until it’s stressful.
Everything will be in robots
But what has led to the ongoing social and economic changes? Factors influencing the metamorphosis can be divided into technological , social , environmental and economic and political . A team of scientists from the Institute for the Future of the University of Phoenix has prepared a report on competences desired on the labor market. Six variables indicative of change are described in the report:
- Aging society
The increasing life span of the average person results directly from medical advances and technological innovations, while allowing for a longer and more productive period of work.
- Work automation
It allows the schematic and tedious tasks to be gradually taken over by robots and artificial intelligence. This scenario allows the assumption that companies will mainly seek narrowly specialized employees.
- Development of global communication
Business models and the functioning of companies will change under the influence of developing global communication. Closed groups in social media, cloud solutions, as well as messaging and applications are elements that facilitate teamwork.
- Massive increase in information emerging
The world is becoming computerized, and our brains have more and more difficulty absorbing the amount of data we are given each day.
- Expansion of global corporations
Corporations such as Google, which to attract and retain the best employees, use elements of biological design, thus proving how much their environment has an impact on employees.
- Expanding the network of connections between different levels of life
Economic, social and political life is increasingly interconnected and more and more of its aspects become interdependent.
Competences or skills of the worker of the future?
Competences and skills are words that are used alternately. However, they have different meanings and concern different areas – I decided to distinguish them once and for all:
Skills are closely related to predispositions to specific things and are not dependent on our emotions and beliefs. We acquire them during our development, getting to know new things and learning. Each person using the same amount of energy and time to learn can acquire certain skills, but the level of their development will differ depending on the individual.
Competencies are features closely related to the way of thinking, specific action and creating relationships. They are shaped by our motivation, experience, beliefs and even emotionality. Competencies, however, are not constant – they develop along with the shaping of our personality and acquiring new skills.
In order to become an effective employee, it is worth taking a look at the competences of the future, which will be desired in the changing labor market.
- Finding meaning and giving meaning
Thinking skills cannot be automated. It is by discovering meaning and giving meaning that people are able to generate innovative insights. This is the intelligence that helps us in our lives – critical thinking that gives us an advantage over the computing power of artificial intelligence.( The computer may win against us in a chess game, but when we ask him a question whether he wants to play with us, he won’t know what game we mean – Bartłomiej Makolus.)
- Social intelligence
High social intelligence allows you to instantly assess your colleagues’ emotions. Thanks to this, we can adjust the gestures, tone of voice and words to them. It has always been a key skill for creating trust. Feeling is incredibly complex, so human emotionality and social intelligence are not reproducible by robots.
- Unconventional and adaptive thinking
As a result of automation, the number of jobs for unskilled workers is declining in favor of management positions and technical professions. Machines cannot be adequately trained to react to unexpected circumstances. It also means that crisis management, adaptation and innovative thinking skills will be valuable.
- Intercultural competences
Diversity is a major driver of innovation. The collaboration of a team of different ages, skills, working and thinking styles makes the group exceptionally intelligent and innovative. Intercultural competences also refer to the ability to adapt to changing conditions. Members of intercultural teams must be able to name and communicate information based on shared goals and values - this is essential for effective collaboration.
- Computational thinking
The amount of data available to us is constantly growing – in order to use it, more and more positions will require computational thinking skills. What does this mean in short? For example, in recruiting, the required “knowledge of Microsoft Office” can be replaced by skills such as quantitative reasoning and statistical analysis. A desirable skill will also be making decisions in the absence of data – a scenario in which the machine will not cope.
- New media skills
The trend of generating content through movies, blogs or podcasts in the next decade will be felt more strongly in the workplace. As a result, the expectation that the employee will be able to create content on their own will increase. Text editing programs made the knowledge of typefaces within the reach of every employee. Employees will therefore need skills to use tools that enable communication in other formats as well.
Population problems are too complex to be solved in a single discipline. In order to address all the needs of a changing society, we must act systemically and look for multifaceted solutions. This leads to the emergence of new areas of science. For example, nanotechnology that combines molecular biology, biochemistry, protein chemistry, and other specialties. The described competence requires a willingness to constantly learn and a curiosity about the world, which goes far beyond the current model of formal education. However, since the increase in longevity directly influences the development of many careers over the course of a lifetime, it will be a desirable skill to specialize in one field while communicating in a wide range of disciplines. Such an employee is referred to as “T-shaped”.
- Design thinking
Thanks to the opportunities offered by the changing world, people will be able to design their surroundings in a way that will allow them to achieve the desired results. The environment has a huge impact on a person’s mood and directly affects his thought processes. The employee of the future should accurately choose the type of thinking to the task and adapt his work environment in such a way as to work in the most effective way.
- Finding meaning and giving meaning
The advancement of technology makes collaborative work and sharing ideas at your fingertips, even if your team members are on a different continent. Virtual team leaders need to develop strategies to effectively motivate a dispersed group, and their members should actively seek environments that promote performance and wellness. Societies that care about the social aspect can successfully combat the isolation problem of virtual collaboration.
The labor market is undergoing tremendous changes to which virtually all its aspects are subject. The competencies of the future discussed are something new and are rapidly gaining in importance. At a time when the pace of change is ever shorter, skills such as adapting to a changing environment and keeping up with technology are extremely valuable. Soft skills gain importance and attention – such as the speed of learning, the ability to find oneself in a new situation, etc. In the face of the disappearance of many specialist professions, the key for many employees will be their readiness to acquire new competences , changing the nature of your job or even a complete re-industry. Soon, the available tools will allow us to perform our work even more efficiently or even relieve us of it – therefore the ways of its organization will be more important than the work itself , and at the same time cooperation in many areas. Both content-related and cultural.