Skills Desired By Employers in 2020 and Beyond

It seems inevitable: Technology is going to replace jobs, or more precisely, the people holding those jobs. Few industries, if any, will be untouched.

One survey revealed that 39% of jobs in the legal sector could be automated in the next 10 years. Separate research has concluded that accountants have a 95% chance of losing their jobs to automation in the future.

And for those in manufacturing or production companies, the future may arrive even sooner. That same report mentioned the advent of robotic bricklayers. Machine learning algorithms are also predicted to replace people responsible for optical part sorting, automated quality control, failure detection, and improved productivity and efficiency. Quite simply, machines are better at the job: The National Institute of Standards predicts that machine learning can improve production capacity by up to 20% and reduce raw materials waste by 4%.

In a world increasingly dominated by robots, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, having a firm grasp of what employers will be looking for is smart. Interestingly, many of the skill sets listed are not yet considered important by employers. They may not be on their radar now-but they will be.

Top 10 Skills Desired By Employers By 2020

10) Cognitive Flexibility

This involves logical reasoning, creativity and problem sensitivity. It will mean the way you communicate to different people and your ability to adapt accordingly.
You need to think critically about who you're communicating with, rather than say the same thing to everyone, and that's what employers will be looking for.
This requires that you're able to listen deeply and be able to taylor your communication to the individual.

9) Negotiation Skills

This will be in especially high demand in math and computer related jobs, such as software development and data analysis. It will also be critical in the arts and design which will include commercial and industrial designers.

8) Service Orientation

Defined as actively seeking ways to help others. How much do you assist those on your team, your superiors, and people across your industry? How much are you known for that?

7) Judgment and Decision-Making

As more and more data is collected by organizations, there will be a greater need for employees who are able to not only analyze it, but also use it to make intelligent decisions. This also involves knowing how to get valuable input from colleagues or making a strong suggestion to a manager, despite it being an unpopular decision for your appearance. All of this would require an employee with good judgement in his/her decision making abilities.

6) Emotional Intelligence

Despite the abilities of robotics being able to do a lot, the ability to read people the way other humans can, is still lacking (at least for the time being). Those who are aware of others' reactions and feelings as well as their own impact on others, will be who employers will place a strong emphasis on hiring.

5) Coordinating With Other People

This is another social skill (notice a trend forming) that will be highly sought by employers. It involves collaborating, sensitivity to the needs of others and the ability to adjust oneself accordingly in relation to others.

4) People Management

The ability to motivate people, pick the best people for the job, and develop skills and talents of employees are what is included here. This will be especially in demand for media and energy industry managers.

3) Creativity

As the world is continued to be bombarded by new technologies, employers increasingly want creative people who are able to apply that tech to new services and products.

2) Critical Thinking

With the increase of automation, rises the increase for humans who are able to employ reason and logic. This is, in part, because machines must be directed ethically and optimally. Critical minded people who can evaluate the use or abuses of technologies power to benefit an organization, the people of that organization and the future are what's in great demand by employers.

1) Complex Problem-Solving

On the top of the list of future skills most in demand by employers. Technology can either make life easier or more complicated. For example, you could use wearables to help map the walking patterns of pedestrians at major city intersections to increase better city planning. But without a human being analyzing those results while also getting valuable input from pedestrians through conversations, you will likely end up with inaccurate data that could lead to dangerous results.

A Harvard Business report shows that 36% of all jobs across all industries will require complex problem-solving abilities as a core skill by 2020.

Final Thoughts

Take a look at this list in aggregate, and it's clear that if you want to prepare for 2020 and beyond, you should develop your social skills. Substantially.

This is backed up by David J. Deming, research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The title of his paper isn't even subtle: The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market. He argues that strong social skills will only increase in importance as robots and automation take more jobs.

And take heart.

Automation will require people who are able to service and maintain this technology, therefore new jobs will open up.

Far from robots taking over the world, their rise seems to mean that it is the very things that make you human, your willingness to cover for a coworker whose parent is sick; your desire to help two radically different teammates work together; your heartfelt appreciation of a manager who had our backs, that will make you the most valuable.

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