Are you afraid robots will steal your job? They might but that’s okay! Let them do all the dirty, boring repetitive work. Grab the opportunity to develop your unique human skills and create your own future job. How? Start working on your employability and focus on some of the twelve skills I mention below.
When was the last time you saw people glued to a computer screen? Distracted, frantically consuming media and not being able to communicate? Probably not so long ago. Maybe even today? It always reminds me of a Pixar animation movie I saw a few years ago: Wall-E. A movie about a funny (and sad) robot that also contains a haunting message. The message is that if we don’t change the way we live we will all become bloated, distracted, media consuming creatures. Super consumers who spend their days immobile in lounge chairs, staring at ads on computer screens. The movie came out in 2008 but the message has never been more relevant.
Robots and machines will always have perfect focus. But they lack many other skills. Human skills. In the near future robots will probably be taking over many of our jobs, especially the ones that can easily be automated. This is good news! We should not see this as a threat but as an opportunity. An opportunity to let the machines do the boring, dirty work. Freeing us and presenting us with the opportunity to do the fun, creative work. Using our unique human skills. Human skills we need to keep working on.
Employability means that we have the human skills and abilities that allow us to be employed
We all know ‘human work’ is changing. In the near future there will no longer be jobs for life, but we will be talking about employability for life. Employability means that we have the human skills and abilities that allow us to be employed. In a previous blogpost I wrote about the fact that to survive in the future labour market we need to combine our specialist focus with being a generalist. We need to be T-shaped and have deep knowledge and skills in a particular area, along with the desire and ability to make connections across disciplines.
We need to be T-shaped and have deep knowledge and skills in a particular area, along with the desire and ability to make connections across disciplines
So what are the human skills – both generalist and specialist – we should focus on for the future? A few years ago, The World Economic Forum wrote about the ten skills for the future. Below are the ten skills we need to succeed in 2020, according to The World Economic Forum:
Future human skills to work on
- Complex problem solving;
- Critical thinking;
- People management;
- Coordinating with others;
- Emotional intelligence;
- Judgement and decision making;
- Service orientation;
- Cognitive flexibility.
Two more skills for the future
Enough to work on, right? But still I would like to add two more:
Ability to focus
The subject of this blog and one of the key skills we need to keep working on: our ability to focus. Because if we fail to do that, in ten years time we will be constantly distracted, media consuming creatures. Not being able to do anything meaningful at all. Just like the people in the Wall-E movie.
Learning how to learn
Knowledge is power in today’s world and having a good understanding of a wider selection of topics is an advantage. The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, with different people working together and solving complex issues. In the future of work, the most important skill is to be able to learn how to learn. The skills you need to be successful are constantly changing and the amount of knowledge that is available keeps growing. The best employees always know how to adapt and find the information they need.
Master these skills and make sure you are ready for the future.