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The Future of Jobs

What will the workforce look like in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Table of contents

A recent World Economic Forum report asked chief human resources and strategy officers from leading global employers what the current shifts mean, specifically for employment, skills and recruitment across industries and geographies.

How will change affect business models?

Early in the WEF Report a chart outlines the perceived drivers of change based on the study.

WEF Timelines

Drivers of Technological Change

According to the report Cloud Computing and Big Data have had the biggest impact on jobs and this has largely been felt already. Items like the Internet of Things, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are likely to have greater impact over the coming years.

What skills will be needed?

Top 10 Skills

The skills needed in 2020 are perhaps unsurprisingly skills that Artificial Intelligence currently finds difficult to replicate. There are large number of soft skills here including People Management, Coordinating with Others and Emotional Intelligence. These are skills that are difficult to teach and difficult for machines to learn.

How can we prepare?

As a business delivering technology change we have held the opinion for some time that a powerful skill in both the design and implementation of technology is empathy. We use empathy heavily through design thinking and user research as part of our discovery and service design principles.

The report claims that machines will fulfil many of the mechanical and process driven skills that humans currently perform. Complex problem solving, co-ordinating with others and people skills remain skills that are difficult to replicate. All of these skills require empathy.

In the UK at least schools continue to champion learning by rote, arithmetic and understanding the mechanics of the English language. What strikes me based on this report is that all of those skills have the potential to be obsolete by the time the current generation of children move into the workforce.

If the report is to be believed creativity and empathy are skills that deserve more attention in the education space just at a time when they seem to be getting less attention.

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