According to a recent study of 2,000 U.S. employers, 91 percent say they plan to increase headcount due to automation and the rise of AI. Which is certainly good news for American workers and jobseekers. But there is a catch: You need to have the right skills in order to succeed in this changing labor climate. And those skills, say the employers surveyed, are these seven: communication, customer service, collaboration, problem-solving, organizational, leadership, and management.
In the below infographic, courtesy of ManpowerGroup, which conducted the survey, the aforementioned skills are listed in order of most highly valued to least highly valued. How hard they are to find in candidates is also quantified.
As you can see, communication skills are both the most highly sought after by employers and the hardest to find. At a glance, you might think this means that IT and other technology professionals might not be among the most highly desired in the coming decade. However, this isn't the case at all. In fact, companies will increasingly want and need people with tech expertise who also have excellent communication skills. Here's more on this from the Manpower.
Communication skills are especially important in IT functions where people are increasingly working across teams leading digitization. IT is no longer a siloed, stand-alone department; today it’s a cross-functional, core element of business transformation. In turn, organizations value front-line workers who can communicate, problem-solve and understand new technology and systems that provide better client service and add value where customers want it most.
And so, the future of work belongs to the highly technical/highly communicative. These two skills were once seen as mutually exclusive. But not anymore. This means those who have the technological skills but not the communication skills better start brushing up. And a place to start, perhaps, is this organization, which can very quickly help you become a better public speaker, better story teller, better explainer, and allow you to feel comfortable in meetings and important one-on-ones. You can also do something even easier: ask for feedback. That is, ask family, friends, and coworkers if there's anything in the way that you communicate that's offputting or unclear. And then work on these blind spots.
Likewise, those who already have the communication skills but are behind the times when it comes to technological skills need to get with the latest programs. Coding classes, for example, are now widespread, offered throughout the country. In fact, online classes of all kinds that can help your career are now offered by top schools, and many classes are free. Another way to improve your technology skills and knowledge is to ask coworkers or friends in tech functions to teach you some basics and/or recommend programs and applications you could do some tutorials in.
A final note about the Manpower study: Many employers surveyed said they're looking for something called "learnability." Which means employment in the near future will be "less about what you already know and more about your capacity to learn." So, make sure to keep this in mind when you're crafting your job applications, updating your LinkedIn profile, and sitting in the interviewer's seat. That is, make sure, during your job search, to let hiring managers know that you're someone who enjoys learning, wants to learn, and can learn. Quickly.
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