Sound unlikely? I don’t think it’s as crazy as it seems, especially when we think of everything that has changed in the last ten years, like social media, artificial intelligence, and automation.
The work human beings do will continue to shift as some jobs become obsolete and new jobs emerge – and the experience and skill set we’ll need in the future look very different from the ones we need today.
Soft skills will grow in importance as the demand for the things machines can’t do continues to increase. However, the ability to understand and work confidently with technology will still be critical. With that in mind, here are four digital skills you need to cultivate to thrive in the new world of work:
Digital literally refers to the skills needed to learn, work, and navigate our everyday lives in our increasingly digital world. When we have digital literacy skills, we are able to interact easily and confidently with technology. This means skills like:
● Keeping on top of emerging new technologies
● Understanding what tech is available and how it can be used
● Using digital devices, software, and applications – at work, in educational settings, and in our everyday lives
● Communicating, collaborating, and sharing information with other people using digital tools
● Staying safe and secure in a digital environment
We’re currently right in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, a movement that is defined by many waves of new technology that combine digital and physical worlds. For instance, you’ve probably noticed the flood of “smart” everyday devices on the market today, from watches to thermostats that are connected to the internet.
All of that new technology is underpinned by data – and that’s why data literacy is one of the critical skills we’re going to need in the future.
Data literacy means a basic ability to understand the importance of data and how to turn it into insights and value. In a business context, you’ll need to be able to access appropriate data, work with data, find meaning in the numbers, communicate insights to others, and question the data when necessary.
“Technical skills” is a broad category these days – it’s not just IT and engineering skills that will be needed in the workplace of the future. As the nature of work changes and workflows become more automated, a wide variety of technical skills are still enormously valuable.
In essence, technical skills are the practical or physical skills needed to do a job successfully. Demand for these skills goes far beyond coding, AI, data science, and IT – although admittedly, those skills are indeed in very high demand. If you’re a plumber, you have technical skills. Same for project managers, carpenters, nurses, and truck drivers.
We will need more specific technical skills in every industry as new technologies come on the scene, so you should be prepared to continually learn and focus on professional development through a combination of training, education, and on-the-job training.
Digital Threat Awareness
Cybercriminals are getting smarter and more nefarious as the world becomes more digital. This means new threats that could have enormous impacts on our personal and professional lives.
Digital threat awareness means being aware of the dangers of being online or using digital devices and having the tools you need to keep yourself and your organization safe.
With so many of our activities happening online (from making doctor’s appointments to ordering Friday night takeaway) happening online, our digital footprints are larger than ever.
Digital threat awareness means understanding the biggest threats in our everyday lives, including:
● Digital addiction
● Online privacy and protecting your data
● Password protection
● Digital impersonation
● Data breaches
● Malware, ransomware, and IoT attacks
In general, lowering the risks of these digital threats means we all need to develop a healthier relationship with technology and teach others how to get the most out of tech and have it enrich our lives without being dominated by it.
To stay on top of future trends and future skills, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter and have a look at my new book, Future Skills: The 20 Skills & Competencies Everyone Needs To Succeed In A Digital World. Written for anyone who wants to surf the wave of digital transformation – rather than be drowned by it – the book explores why these vital future skills matter and how to develop them.
Critics by Deloitte
EMERGING technology is reshaping the world of work. Automation is revolutionizing business models, tools, tasks and delivery modes. Workers can already see the transformation happening, as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other digital innovations are being used increasingly in the workplace.1 The likely effects of automation are mixed. On the one hand, some jobs are at risk of being fully or partially automated and/ or replaced by robots and AI.
On the other hand, these changes could increase efficiency and access to services. Employers and workers require the necessary digital and soft skills to take advantage of the new opportunities they are expected to face. However, almost half the population of the EU is considered as lacking basic digital skills3 and one-third of the European citizens reportedly have no or almost no digital skills at all.4
Approximately 40 per cent of employers are struggling to fill their job vacancies due largely to a lack of necessary skills, while 30 per cent of graduates are working in a job where the competences they acquired at university are not required.5 This skills gap could threaten the stability of the labour market as well as the ability of EU industry to innovate. The challenges of upskilling and reskilling could be imminent for many individuals, businesses and governments.
The dignity, well-being and self-fulfilment of individuals as well as the prosperity of society could depend on it. Within this context, impactful public policies for workers’ inclusiveness are important. In this vein, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders, including workers, companies, public authorities, education institutions, training providers and social partners6 can be crucial.
The ‘future of skills’ receives considerable attention from governments around the world and stands high on the political agenda of many international organizations. As an example, the EU has adopted an overarching strategy – the New Skills Agenda7 – to tackle a wide range of skills-related challenges. Many of the tools contained in this initiative aim at empowering individuals to develop new skills or to exploit the skills they already have.
Nevertheless, even with the most innovative policies in place and the mobilization of huge public resources,8 the success of any skills strategy depends heavily on the motivation of individuals and their decisions to take a step forward. Hence, it is of great importance for policymakers and other stakeholders to understand the impact of technological change from the perspective of workers in order to develop effective policy tools to create a future that works for all.
A number of academic studies already shed light on the potential changes in the labour force of the future. This article which presents the opinions of more than 15,000 workers across ten European countries, was designed to contribute to the overall debate by giving voice to the workers themselves and potentially bring them closer to policymakers. This paper provides insights on how the workers surveyed view the impact of new technologies on their work, how they perceive their own preparedness for automation and technological change, and which policy measures they expect from governments and others.
Building on the analysis of workers’ attitudes, the paper concludes with a number of suggestions for further consideration at policy level to address the skills gap and its challenges. Both the EU and national governments aim to close the skills gap and increase digital skills significantly through a wide range of initiatives, one of the most important being vocational education and training. But how do European workers see the need for action in order to equip themselves with all the skills necessary for Industry 4.0?
Even if workers do not perceive a threat of losing their job due to automation, most still expect some changes in the nature of their job and the skills required for it.About 50 per cent of workers surveyed across all sectors believe that automation will give them an opportunity to develop their skills. This is particularly true among respondents with higher levels of education: 57 per cent of those with a university degree hold this view, compared to just 41 per cent of those surveyed with lower educational attainments.
When asked about the expected impact of automation on the nature of their skills, more than 35 per cent of respondents do not think that it will make their current skills outdated, whilst 28 per cent believe that it will. This divergence of opinions may be explained partly by different expectations across occupations.For instance, in the survey results, workers in elementary occupations (e.g. manufacturing labourers, agricultural labourers, etc.11) show a greater tendency to believe that technology will reduce their job opportunities, whereas workers in other occupations tend to disagree with this statement (figure 4).
The expectation among workers that some of their skills may be outdated by technology could influence both the self-perception of their level of preparedness and their motivation to engage in training activiti…
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