As artificial intelligence is mastering more and more human skills its job-disrupting potential is rising day by day.  Truck drivers, accountants, financial analysts, customer service assistants and many others are already in the situation of uncertainty. Nobody knows yet where exactly automation will bring us in the future, but everybody would agree on the common interest to have a job.

Until recently it was widely believed that the most valuable skills in today’s and tomorrow’s economy are those of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Indeed they continue to be sought by many industries globally. However, with the onset of deep learning, coding is already becoming not the fundamental skill. Google already reports that their AI is better at creating AI than the company’s engineers. And we simply cannot be all software engineers anyway.  It is time to acknowledge that the nature of work is changing and the skills valued on the job market are changing too.

Automation will challenge us to find our unique, deeply human qualities and learn to use them competitively. These qualities are not those of systemizing and rational thinking, because machines will eventually become much better at them than us. What are they then?

The answer is in these trends:

  1. REPETITIVE AND TECHNICAL TASKS ARE THE EASIEST TO AUTOMATE

Studies demonstrate that jobs requiring repetitive tasks are the easiest to automate, therefore low-skilled and middle occupations will decline first. On the contrary the hardest to automate are those requiring managing and developing people and using decision making, planning and creative work[1]. Machines are still far from being able to think out of the box, provide empathy, imagine scenarios and elaborate strategies. Therefore the jobs like a teacher, a mental health professional, an executive officer are almost impossible to automate.

  1. SOFT SKILLS ARE MOST SOUGHT BY EMPLOYERS

The technical background is important, however not alone. It is team working, emotional intelligence and critical thinking that must go with it. A recent LinkedIn survey of 291 hiring professionals indicated 58% say the lack of soft skills among job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.

  1. HUMAN LABOR ACQUIRES HIGH VALUE

Many products have gone mass market and anything can be delivered from China. However many people choose not to buy low-cost items from an assembly line. Hand-picked, crafted, human-made products are in a high demand, be it jewelry from Etsy, an organic local fruit or an artist’s painting. Why people search for such products and are willing to pay more for them? Because it is the personal touch, the uniqueness, the quality and the experience that matter. That is why «as automation makes everyday products cheaper and more plentiful, people will increasingly shift their spending to goods and services where a connection to a human provider is seen as a key benefit»[2].

Based on this, what conclusions can be made for those who hire and work?

-         Creativity, communication, people management, team working, critical and strategic thinking will remain most valuable skills on the job market

-         Most highly sought professionals will have these skills combined with emotional intelligence

-         Humans can maintain their jobs and advance economy when they use their unique features such as craftsmanship, imagination, passion, unique vision and emotion.

Automation will inevitably disrupt the way we work and the economy; it is up to each organization and each professional to get ready for itto the maximum. It’s never too late to become more creative, gain more emotional intelligence and increase your productivity.

 

References

[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/where-machines-could-replace-humans-and-where-they-cant-yet

[2] https://www.vox.com/a/new-economy-future/manual-labor-luxury-good