The Fourth Industrial Revolution was the topic for the 2016 World Economic Forum. Developments in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and others, are driving fast-paced change that will radically affect the way we work and live.
There are many unknowns about the future, but what we do know for sure is that reality as we know it today will be very different. Jobs will disappear (the WEF has calculated that about 5 million jobs will be lost), new jobs will be created and some skills will become obsolete, whereas others will be highly demanded.
The report from the World Economic Forum lists the ten critical skills that will be needed in the workforce in 2020: 1) Complex problem saving; 2) Critical thinking; 3) Creativity; 4) People management; 5) Coordinating with others; 6) Emotional intelligence; 7) Judgment and decision-making; 8) Service orientation; 9) Negotiation; and 10) Cognitive flexibility.
Between today and 2020, we have a little bit more than 1400 days. Most of us are trying to live a fulfilling life, exploring and discovering our potential, and thriving in an environment in which we opportunities to maximize that potential. But 1400 days is not much time, and we need to plan and act upon our professional and career future starting right now. I can’t stress enough the urgency of my words.
In the future, either in 2020, 2030 or 2050, but definitely not too far from now, working class will be further divided into low-paying low-skilled jobs, and high-paying high-skilled jobs. An engineer of today, if he or she doesn’t increase the skills needed in the future, could potentially be placed in the low-skilled job band. On the other hand, a clerk of today, who is deciding to begin right now the learning process to strengthen the skills and capacities that match his or her potential, with the needs in the future, could potentially be placed in the high-skilled job band. The difference in both is not academic training or diplomas, but long term professional planning.
Below is how I see the extremes in the top five of these 10 skills needed for the future. Where are you standing? What do you need to do in order to navigate the path between a low extreme and a high one? What urgency will you consider in order to learn and move from one place to the other?
I’m an HR Professional with background in Electronic Engineer and a Fulbright scholar with an Executive Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University. I’m passionate about development, innovation, leadership and neuroscience. I’m also a competitive ultrarunner.