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.
Still, it is jobs requiring basic cognitive skills, including data entry, that face the biggest challenge, as they are set to decline even faster than they have over the last 15 years. The same is true of physical and manual skills, such as gross motor skills. Though this may remain the largest skill category by hours worked in many countries, including the United States, in others, such as France and the United Kingdom, they will be overtaken by demand for social and emotional skills; in Germany, physical and manual skills will be surpassed by higher cognitive skills in terms of hours worked.
President Emmanuel Macron together with many Silicon Valley CEOs will kick off the VivaTech conference in Paris this week with the aim of showcasing the "good" side of technology. Our research highlights some of those benefits, especially the productivity growth and performance gains that automation and artificial intelligence can bring to the economy -- and to society more broadly, if these technologies are used to tackle major issues such as fighting disease and tackling climate change. But we also note some critical challenges that need to be overcome. To see just how big those shifts could be, our latest research analyzed skill requirements for individual work activities in more than 800 occupations to examine the number of hours that the workforce spends on 25 core skills today. We then estimated the extent to which these skill requirements could change by 2030, as automation and artificial technologies are deployed in the workplace, and backed up our findings with a detailed survey of more than 3,000 business leaders in seven countries, who largely confirmed our quantitative findings.