What does a future-proof skill set look like?
Many people fear what the Fourth Industrial Revolution means for their job security, but this era of technological innovation isn’t about the “wholesale replacement of the human workforce.” While automation reduces the need for professionals to perform certain manual tasks, some advancements also create additional job opportunities. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, many businesses are opting for an augmentation strategy, where machines perform the repetitive tasks and allow professionals to use their distinctively human talents to solve more complex issues.
These findings provide a more promising outlook of the human job market, but they also give insight into the skills professionals need to succeed in this changing workplace environment. Proficiency in new technologies is an obvious plus for professionals, but technical skills are only part of a future-proof skill set.
A 2018 report from the Association of American Colleges & Universities found that “employers overwhelmingly endorse broad learning and cross-cutting skills as the best preparation for long-term career success.” And because executives and hiring managers want to see demonstrated proficiency in these skills when hiring college graduates, they're looking for candidates who possess soft skills like communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
Along with these key competencies, other top job surveys also support employers’ desire for students to possess transferable skills like problem solving and leadership when they enter the workforce. These skills seem to only be growing in importance. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, many of the skills in top demand will be soft skills.
Specialized skills are important, but human skills apply across all jobs and industries. To survive and thrive in an increasingly automated world, employees must develop soft skills like communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and complex