8 Skills for the Future of Work [Session Summary]

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The following article is a short summary of the presentation “8 Skills for the Future of Work” at The CHRO Virtual Summit Reloaded by Graeme Codrington, CEO of TomorrowToday and The Future of Work Academy.

To say that AI and other rapidly advancing technologies are changing the way we work is an understatement. Huge disruptive forces are emerging that are going to significantly alter the way in which most people work. This leaves us rightfully with many serious questions about our place in the talent landscape over the next few years. Graeme Codrington suggests that while big changes are happening now, it’s really going to be the 2020s where we see the true impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and quantum computing on work. However, far from being pessimistic about this oncoming change, Codrington argues that the limits to what humans can do in the future will be really down to our own imagination and skill set, rather than any technological barriers.

What will talent look like in the 2020s?

One of the most important questions that HR professionals should ask when thinking of the future is; what will talent look like in the 2020s? This question has huge implications for both individuals and HR departments. For a large range of organizations, choosing the right candidates is going to be a significant challenge, as they have to find the best candidates not only for today, but for the next decade or so. To answer this question, Codrington suggest we must first answer a primary and arguably more contentious issue – what about the robots?

What’s going to happen when the robots come for our jobs?

I think we’re all a little weary of robots. However according to Codrington, the question of whether the robots will take our jobs is a little redundant. It isn’t that the robots are coming to take our jobs, it’s that software and algorithms are going to change things more significantly for the way we work and the tasks we do. He suggests that automation will be a huge part of the new tech environment, as many low-end, repetitive, and transactional tasks will become a common home for robots and advanced AI. But it’s not just these low end jobs that will be changed, many professional jobs will be augmented too. Codrington argues that machines are simply going to be better at doing some tasks than humans are, and rather than see this as a threat, it can also be seen as a great opportunity.

“Robots are not coming for all of our jobs, they are coming for tasks”

Graeme Codrington

If some tasks are going to be automated, what’s left for humans to do? Codrington posits that very few jobs are even capable of being automated in entirety, so it’s much more likely that humans and machines will end up working together on a huge range of varied tasks. So, what is it that we can do now that machines will do better? And what is it that the machines can’t do that we’ll still do in the future? The good news is that the people who will thrive in the future of work are those who possess the skills that machines cannot compete with – these are going to be the ‘talented people’ of the 2020s.

8 skills for the future of work

The 8 skills for the future of work, sketch by Ingrid Nouwens

What are the eight essential skills for the future of work?

  1. Horizon scanning & ‘what if’ thinking
  2. Adaptive intelligence & complex problem solving
  3. Personal intelligence
  4. Diversity intelligence
  5. Creativity & intuition
  6. Curiosity & storytelling
  7. Initiative & entrepreneurship
  8. Tech savvy

What does all this mean? In some sense it’s ‘business as usual’. Yes, AI is going to incredibly disruptive for a select range of job types and skill sets, but the Codrington outlook is quite positive and optimistic. Yes, you’re going to need to develop your own future-proofing skills and keep them in mind when thinking of the future organization, but the simple truth is: don’t compete with machines; be more human. This is the goal for HR leaders to grasp – develop your future skills, regardless of your job, experience, or education. With AI and robots taking some of the dreary tasks of the past, there’s going to be more and more options for humans to shine in the ways that only humans know how to.

If you missed the Summit or some of the presentations – don’t worry – you can purchase access to the presentations and slides for a 30-day period by following this link.

The 3rd HR Congress Brussels, November 27-28 will feature a selection of sessions that will explore this topic and much more! Make sure you follow The HR Congress Blog and #HRCongress18 to stay posted on all the latest news, updates and content from the world of work!

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