Demand for technological, social and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will rise by 2030. How will workers and organizations adapt? Skill shifts have accompanied the introduction of new technologies in the workplace since at least the Industrial Revolution, but adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will mark an acceleration over the shifts of even the recent past. The need for some skills, such as technological as well as social and emotional skills, will rise, even as the demand for others, including physical and manual skills, will fall. These changes will require workers everywhere to deepen their existing skill sets or acquire new ones.
At the SXSWedu national education conference in Texas this week, a panel of business and education leaders discussed worrying findings in a recent study of the skills gap in technology. Among the findings of the Career Advisory Board were that just 11% of organizations believe that colleges and universities are providing graduates with skills to fill the tech needs of their businesses and institutions. The study also found that 57 of respondents said that interviewees for tech roles lack the skills necessary for the job. One of those taking part on the panel was Randi Zuckerberg, CEO of Zuckerberg media, author, former director at Facebook, and sister of that company's co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. Following the panel she took the time to talk to me about what she felt were the most pressing issues raised by the report – and how the tech industry can make a start at tackling them.
What skills do you have that sets you apart from other candidates? Tell me why you are the best person for this job? How do you compare yourself to others who might be interested in this role? Like everyone who has had a job to do, an entrepreneur needs certain skills to get the job done effectively. The term skill encompasses the concept of competence, proficiency, attributes and the ability to do something well.
More than 120 million workers globally will need retraining in the next three years due to artificial intelligence's impact on jobs, according to an IBM survey. That's a top concern for many employers who say talent shortage is one of the greatest threats to their organizations today. And the training required these days is longer than it used to be -- workers need 36 days of training to close a skills gap versus three days in 2014, IBM notes in the survey. Some skills take longer to develop because they are either more behavioral in nature such as teamwork and communication or highly technical, such as data science capabilities. "Reskilling for technical skills is typically driven by structured education with a defined objective with a clear start and end," Amy Wright, IBM managing director for talent, wrote in an email.
It would appear that the goal of every second headline on the topic of "the future of work" is to instill an inherent fear in workers regarding what is to come and concerning the status of their careers and their future AI coworkers. The message seems to be: "Robots are coming for your jobs and there isn't much you can do about it." The former portion of this message is somewhat true, automation is on the rise, which will cause many positions to be filled by high-speed, data-crunching technology. But the latter, rather uninspiring portion, is not true. Working humans are not doomed as long as the companies they work for recognize the skills of the future and focus on building and developing the areas robots cannot do well.