In 2016 the World Economic Forum conducted a massive survey, they asked 350 executives across 9 industries in 15 different countries on how they saw the future of the workforce taking shape by 2020 led by the technological advancements happening and supposed to happen (ie the rise of Artificial Intelligence).
When I heard about it at the time, 4 years seem like a long time away but in a few weeks we are only 1 year away from their predictions and from what we have seen with the changes in the job market and the requirements of jobs I see many of their predictions already coming true.
So how does this impact you? Hard skills are important and will always be important but the goal of many of the advancements in technology is to replace hard skills so the need for what we as humans bring to the table increases in importance. And what do we bring to the table that technology can’t?
So what are those skills that you should focus on selling and developing? Here are the top 5 as outlined by the study but also ones that I have personally seen as a Career Professional and previous Recruiter:
1. Complex Problem Solving
Before the internet and globalization, problems were fairly simple to solve. Especially since work environments were incredibly traditional with a large rule book that gave employees an answer or at least a framework to handle any problem that came their way.
With advancing technology, many competing markets and the increasing tendency of companies to throw out their rule books comes a need for individuals who can look at problems from many different angles to assess solutions and their impacts. As we rely more and more on technology and data, the greater the need for humans to work through those problems.
I’ve spoken about creativity a lot. When I’m talking to hiring managers this is definitely one of the top skills that I have seen grow in importance since 2016. The funny thing is that creativity used to be a “dirty” word in the business world, a skill reserved for artists and tolerated in marketing. But finance, operations? No thank you was the old way of viewing it.
Not anymore. With the goal to outsmart and outlast the competition, traditional ways of doing business just doesn’t cut it anymore. Pushing boundaries of how we structure an organization, create processes and handle all the data allows an organization to get ahead.
Leadership has always had a place in the workplace but typically in the form of Management. And anyone can be a manager. But only few are what we call “natural leaders”. A natural leader is someone who inspires and empowers their team. They mentor and groom them to become the best version of themselves, even if that means losing them to another team and company, as a true leader is not selfish.
The ability as a leader to recognize and hire “top talent” in order build “high performing teams” that collaborate as a unit to be innovative leading to superior results is of utmost importance to organizations right now in order to compete at the level required to win in today’s market.
4. Critical Thought
Starting in 2015 I really noticed an increase in this skill making the list of what a hiring manager wants. Especially in roles that have traditionally been very process oriented, no longer did they want someone who could put their head down and just follow the steps blindly to get the job done. Now they want someone who is continuously applying critical thought to each and every situation – is this the best way to handle the issue? Is there anyone who should be brought into the decision making?
Essentially, companies want someone who also takes a big picture look at the process to ensure that it is the most efficient way to completing the work.
5. Emotional Intelligence
To put it plainly – with the rise of Artificial Intelligence comes the need for increased Emotional Intelligence in employees. It is what makes us different, it is our superpower and differentiating factor.
Our ability to read other people, to understand how our roles and decisions have an impact on others and how that all ties to together these are things that robots just can’t do.
Now that you know what the skills are, you need to know where you need to focus on:
1. Skill Development – improving your soft skills is hard but not impossible. Pick your weakest and work on that.
2. Sell yourself – figure out how to make sure the decision makers know you have these skills, selling yourself is hard but it doesn’t have to be awkward.
3. Promote your skills – through networking, on your social media channels and obviously if you are looking in your marketing documents (resume and cover letter!).
Do you want to brainstorm how to do the above? Set up a Discover Your Career strategy call and let’s get you set to succeed today and tomorrow.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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