Skills You Need for the Future of Work

Technology is moving faster than expected, forcing all of us to shift our mindset. In the past, job specialization was enough to grow the professional ladder. Today, career and retirement can no longer be guaranteed. Unless a person’s job is unionized, skills can be easily replaced through artificial intelligence. That’s why it’s important to think and act in advance before it’s too late.

1) Critical thinking through industry analysis

If you want to be in the driver’s seat, you need to start by evaluating the skills you presently have. Study your industry and think about how industry changes will affect your personal skills. How can changes in technology, environment, and economy impact your profession? Then think about how these changes can affect departments, teams, and yourself. For example, marketing, finance, and sales departments depend on each other, technological changes can affect the available budget, as more money is being invested in research. With the budget being reallocated, it could lead to fewer marketing activities, which could impact long-term revenue results and thus also your job.

It’s crucial to analyze, why certain professionals, in the same industry or field are not affected by present changes. Do you lack certain skills or technological know-how? How can you make your professional skills not obsolete, based on what is happening currently and forecasted?

2) View disruptors as role models

In the early days, Amazon sold books disrupting bookstores worldwide and now they are disrupting retail industries. What is interesting though, is that disrupting companies, including Google and Microsoft, invest millions in employee training. If they don’t hire their own employees, they prefer hiring people with multifunctional experiences, rather than highly specialized employees. They know that this is the only way to move quickly in an environment, where consumers’ needs evolve frequently.

If you want to be a disrupter with your skills, gather work experience in a diverse environment and work with cross-functional teams. The days where an employer can rely on only local staff is over. The demand for employees that can interact with people, who have diverse backgrounds, will only continue to grow.

3) Focus on building interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills, including empathy, and self-awareness, can be an advantage in the future of work. Teamwork is here to stay and interacting with people will continue to be essential.

Emotional intelligence, which The Economic Times defines as being aware of one’s own emotions, how they can affect others, and how to control them, will become more important for all job professions. 

As we work with more global teams and the consumer becomes more global, everyone needs to be aware of unconscious biases. University of California, defines unconscious biases as social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Also, the ability to understand and acknowledge unconscious biases will have more significance in the future workforce.

Most people don’t have a profession that is protected by the government. Therefore, people need to change the way present job skills are looked at, job specialization is not enough. What will get people ahead in the future is forward-thinking, a general mindset, and the ability to interact with cross-functional departments.


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