New skills to meet new challenges

Automation will require humans to acquire a whole range of new skill sets. Photo used for representational purpose only  

Robots, artificial intelligence, driverless cars — these are no longer terms from sci-fi movies. This is the reality of the future, and the future is right here.

According to World Economic Forum, we are on the cusp of Industry 4.0. For most of us, the future revolves around how technology will make people obsolete and how automation will replace human workers with machines.

However, unfortunately, most of us are missing the bigger picture. Technology and automation will indeed change the way jobs are done in the future.

When robots take over the manual work, and artificial intelligence can handle tasks that earlier required a human brain, what remains to be done is different from what we do today.

What is important to understand is that the future of tomorrow does not replace humans but demands people to have the right technology acumen.

Therefore, it is imperative to understand the skill sets of the future. According to a Pearson study, following are the top 10 skills associated with future occupations.

Skill sets for the future

1. Ideation: The ability to come up with new ideas about a topic. Here, the number of ideas matter and not their quality or creativity.

2. Decision-making: The ability to understand the cost versus benefits of a potential idea or action and choosing the most appropriate one.

3. Originality: The ability to come up with unique ideas on a given topic to creatively solve a problem.

4. Active learning: Using learning principles/instructional methods to come up with procedures to teach new things.

5. Systems evaluation: The ability to identify indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve the performance relative to the goals of the system.

6. Learning strategies: The ability to understand the implications of new information for current and future problem-solving and decision-making

7. Complex problem-solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

8. Critical thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

9. Systems analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

10. Deductive reasoning: The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

This suggests that creativity, judgement, adaptability will play a critical role compared to domain specific knowledge. While domain can be easily replaced by robots and AI, the ability for machines to handle skills like creativity is far-fetched right now.

Over the past decade, there have been incredible technology advancements. Have these automated or eliminated every aspect of a job requiring human intervention? No. Jobs haven’t gone away; instead, they have become complex or the scope has changed, requiring newer skills and competencies. So, preparing for the future needs continuous learning.

And with change comes great opportunity. So, if you embrace learning new skills to stay ahead of your industry, you will position yourself to meet and exceed your goals — regardless of the technology or where you stand today.

(Ritu Agast is Director — Human Resources at Pearson India)

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 12:40:57 PM |

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