The future of work is not about tech. It is tech and skills.

The way we now work is changing rapidly. Thanks to the digital transformation, new business models are appearing worldwide. To survive, it is necessary to acquire new skills that allow us to stay in the game. The work of the future will be focused on the abilities and skills of the individual, and the ability to learn new skills fast and efficiently.

Why skills are essential for the work of the future

Pay attention to the following simple example: you work as a delivery person for a major pizza chain in the country. You are very happy with your work since you have experience and you don’t know how to do anything but delivery. However, the company has decided to replace all its delivery drivers for small autonomous vehicles that do the work. Managers choose the best delivery driver (among those are you) to move them in more advanced positions. They are asked about their skills, but you only know how to drive a car and there is no room for you in the company. What will you do?

The first thing will be to consider two situations: resign yourself and stay waiting for another delivery job to appear or change your mind (maybe your mindset) to learn new skills that allow you to improve your quality of life. I am hoping most would choose to do the latter. Well, don’t wait any longer, your job is changing, and you need to KEEP learning!

This example you just read is not a utopia, in fact, it is a simple example of what will happen to many positions in banking, finance, distribution, manufacturing, tech and other industries. The digital and technological transformation is real. Many jobs may disappear, others will be transformed and those that are just beginning to be noticed will have incredible importance in a matter of five years or less.

Learning and skill development

Look at the millennial generation, which has grown alongside technological developments, is looking for an ally in companies to help them achieve their highest priority objectives. These are needs such as continuous learning of new practical and quantifiable skills that have a significant impact on your personal development.

Having grown up surrounded by technological advances, millennials hope they will be allowed access to certain technology in their workplaces. Likewise, they do not expect to be tied to classrooms to receive training in a certain work activity. They prefer to be given the freedom to access training and information when they need it. Other generations have some of this aptitude and attitude but do not always comprehend or embrace technology like the younger generations entering the workforce, but this is changing.

Technological advances

It is no secret to anyone that new technologies provide humanity with a lot of advantages (and some shortcomings). However, being able to use it correctly will improve many of the conditions in the environments that human beings develop.

Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Machine Learning are completely transforming not only the labor and education industry but other important areas such as health, transportation, and even legal and finance.

How technological advances affect the labor field

By 2024, about 35% of the skills that are essential to work today will have changed in their entirety*. Likewise, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform life as we know it. It is only enough to see the development that companies carry out today, mainly those specialized in technology.

A simple technological change can be applied to many industries. As we saw in the example of which you were the protagonist, advanced robotics and autonomous transport is today a reality applicable to any area.

By the middle of the next decade, jobs will be more focused on serving creative analytical skills, without leaving the latter aside. According to a study carried out by The Future of Jobs, has predicted these skill changes, among which the following stand out;

Creativity

It is known that machines can help us achieve our goals more easily. However, they do not have an innate characteristic of human beings such as creativity.

New technologies and ways of working will require workers to be much more creative than they are today. The physical activities will be relegated to the action of machines. Therefore, greater human decision-making capacity will be needed. In this way, originality and innovation will be highly valued to differentiate companies.

Emotional intelligence

Processing and directing our emotions is a challenge. However, it is no coincidence that emotional intelligence is one of the skills to be developed for future work.

The development of empathy and assertive communication are key, especially if you are the leader of a team. Being able to understand the emotions of your colleagues and collaborators, listen to their ideas and thoughts as a form of feedback, will be necessary for the proper development of the work.

Critical thinking

While computers are acquiring “knowledge” about data analysis and processing through machine learning, there is still a task that depends on us. When processing the data, information is obtained. It is our duty as collaborators within a team to analyze, understand and evaluate such information to determine which is the most favorable decision for the company.

Here comes our analytical cerebral hemisphere. It is not just analyzing the information obtained and deciding such a simple way. It is about understanding in the best possible way the current situation and weighing the consequences of the possible alternatives to choose.

Unlike decision making, critical thinking develops individually. Each one generates a position regarding a certain situation and defends it, based on the information collected and bringing it to discussion during the resolution of complex problems.

Will the way we teach and learn at work change?

Completely. The rapid advance in the development of new technologies makes us realize another reality: we will be lifelong learners. Thus, it is the only way in which we remain competitive and able to continue working in our current company.

Additionally, learning will not be limited to a classroom. The figure of a facilitator who speaks next to a projected PowerPoint slide will disappear. Study after study show that one of the most effective ways to learn or reinforce skills is through other means, such as on the job, peer to peer, coaching, and virtual classrooms.

Technology as an ally of learning skills at work

New technologies can be used to have a great impact on skill development. And not only is it about the development of basic skills, but they also direct personalized learning experience for each employee. Therefore, highly interactive and even connected to the cloud technologies allow training to occur anywhere, anytime.

The main advantage of technologies in which new skills are developed or existing ones are reinforced is that they occur in a safe environment for the learner. A simple example is that of airlines that use Virtual Reality technologies to train their pilots. Thus, pilots can crash as many times as necessary without putting their lives at risk or the airline’s finances. Also, the system will tell the pilot what went wrong. In this way, the crew will know what actions to avoid so as not to trigger a disaster.

Personalized learning experiences are also gaining ground in the workplace. Unlike a classroom, in which a teacher teaches a lesson in general to a group of people, learning can be adapted according to its recipient.

The destiny of companies towards digital transformation is imminent. There is no doubt that technological advances represent great support for the learning of teams within companies. Also, the jobs will not be the same in the coming years. The support of new technologies will transform how work is carried out. New positions will appear that will require new knowledge and skills that allow for more efficient results and significant improvements for companies.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

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