The job skill of the future

Which one job skill do we all need to work on for the benefit of our future careers?

Most experts agree that automation will dramatically change the job landscape over the coming years. It’s recently been said that “white-collar jobs will be swept away faster by digital change than in any previous economic transformation.” White-collar jobs are those that primarily involve mental and/or administrative work, such as that commonly undertaken by office professionals.

As alarming as talk of job loss is, these digital changes will present benefits to employees and businesses. The above-linked feature also explores how many of our jobs will become easier. Automation is predicted to eliminate many mundane tasks and help us to complete our roles more efficiently.

Yet we also need to adapt as individuals. It’s no good simply letting AI sweep in and remove our jobs. Instead, we need to brush up on our skills and make sure we’re working well alongside new tech.

Certain attributes keep cropping up in these conversations…

…including the job skill discussed in today’s featured study:

Emotional Intelligence (‘EI’ or ‘EQ’) is the skill in question, as researched by Capgemini.

  • 83% of professionals agree that a ‘highly emotionally-intelligent workforce’ will be intrinsic to future success.
  • 61% of executive-level respondents think EI will be a ‘must-have’ career skill within the next 1-5 years. 41% of non-supervisory level employees agree.
  • 76% of executives also say employees need to develop EI to adapt to more client-facing jobs and to complete new tasks requiring skills that ‘cannot be automated’, including ’empathy, influence and teamwork’.

Many employees also believe their skills are replaceable…

  • Just under 2/5 of employees say their job skills will or already have ‘become redundant’ due to automation and/or AI.
  • Currently, only 42% of businesses are training their senior team on EI; this falls to 32% for middle management and just 17% for non-supervisory staff.
  • Yet 75% of business leaders think emotional intelligence can be increased.

Psychologists also agree…

One psychology professor likens EI to mathematical abilities, saying: “there is a certain amount of teaching and tutoring that can be helpful. We can acquire knowledge in the area that will increase the effectiveness with which people use their intelligence.”

Wondering which job skills you need right now?

  • Make sure you’re regularly reading job descriptions for openings in your target sector. Watch our for patterns in employer requirements (particularly when it comes to key skills and personal attributes) and see if there are any gaps you need to work on.
  • It’s always good to think ahead as well. Developing the skills highlighted in such studies may offer a competitive advantage in the future. It also demonstrates initiative – something that’s long been attractive to prospective employers. Ready to get started? Visit the ‘further reading for your future career and job skills’ section towards the bottom of this post.


The future skills framework

A future skills special: from a new task force, to students’ concerns, and the employment market’s major currency…

The new task force & its future framework…

  • A number of leading education and employment organisations have come together to form a major new task force. Together, they will draw up a framework of core job skills that we will all need in the future.
  • These skills will help businesses to establish what they’re looking for in their recruits (particularly in a time of increasing automation). For example, this could include problem-solving, teamwork and presentation abilities.
  • The framework will resemble the ‘Skills Builder Framework’, which is already used by teachers. In addition to helping identify required abilities, this enables users to establish ‘measurable steps’ through which to obtain them.
  • This project could help the nation to move closer towards the recommendations made in Matthew Taylor’s 2017 Taylor Review. You may recall that this was a ‘Review of Modern Working Practices’, which aims to help the government adapt to a rapidly changing world of work.

Students feel unprepared for their careers

  • 44% of A Level students fear that a university degree won’t help them prepare for their careers.
  • 20% think an additional two to three years of paid work would provide greater preparation, with 8% saying university will merely delay their entry into employment.
  • Despite these findings, only 10% of students intend to go straight into work.
  • The researchers at AVADO are calling on educators and employers to work more closely to ensure students develop essential career skills.
  • Of course, the future skills task force may prove useful to this quest.

The employment market’s major currency

  • Both of the above-quoted sources understand that job skills matter to future career success.
  • Few organisations understand this better than the World Economic Forum, which places skills at the centre of its ‘Strategies for the New Economy’ white paper.
  • They go so far as to describe skills as the ‘currency of the labour market’. You can read the white paper in full here. It comprises a number of recommendations on how such a skills-based employment market can be created.

Looking for candidates with the right skills for your job vacancies? Email an Appoint Recruitment Consultant directly or call the team on 01225 313130.

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