Companies are challenged to not only find the talent they need right now, but also heading into the next decade. The landscape of work is shifting and new jobs, requiring new skills, are emerging. No one knows exactly what will happen in the future of work but it makes sense to start thinking of what skills your workforce will need to weather the changes on the horizon. Research suggests there will be a huge push for employees who are both technology-savvy as well as having a wide range of soft skills that will make them adaptable to whatever the future brings. While we might not have a magic ball to tell us what's coming, there are strategies you can tie into your hiring practices to help build an adaptable workforce.
Factors impacting the world of work and skill sets
One report published by McKinsey Global Institute, advises that automation will continue to influence the workplace, eventually either replacing some humans or requiring a whole new set of skills by the year 2030. We’re already seeing this with artificial intelligence and robotics. Employers must evaluate their current employee skill sets and determine if they need to go heavy on recruitment marketing now or focus on retraining efforts to bring employees up to speed.
Thomas Frey, Futurist says that “future jobs will have professions that bridge technology, but it will be the technology that is the primary job generator, not the profession.” For example, robots will dominate the scene, but there will still need to be crews of humans who can design, program, build, and maintain robotic equipment. Data management may be augmented by AI, but humans will still need to be able to apply this information to the business world.
Moving into the future of work, what are some of the top skills employers should be hiring for?
The World Economic Forum is referring to the next decade as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, due to the rapid increase in new technologies that are transforming work. Their research shows that 65 percent of elementary aged school children today will be working in new job types that have not even been invented yet. Employers can do their part by hiring candidates who have the right attitudes and ability to learn new skills.
Here’s a few skills employers can be hiring for now, in anticipation of future roles:
Project and Resource Management: Companies will always need humans to oversee projects and protect resources from wasteful practices, even if the actual work itself ends up being done by machines or robots. Hiring project managers and resource leaders ensures that companies efficiently manage all their resources, both human and non-human.
Adaptability and Agility: Workplaces are already experiencing the need to be agile in order to keep up with changes and new technology. Therefore it’s pertinent to hire candidates who thrive in this type of environment with agile work styles and adaptability. Testing for change tolerance and flexibility during the interview process can help identify these key candidates.
Learning and Development: Along with being adaptable, in order to succeed in rapidly changing roles, hire candidates who embrace learning new things and are comfortable with the high likelihood that they will need to retrain or upskill as their roles evolve. Look for those who are continually seeking professional development opportunities or are taking advantage of in-house or external learning programs.
Effective Communication: It’s growing increasingly important for employees to be able to present their ideas in multiple communication formats to multiple audiences. Hire candidates who have above average communication skills in both written and verbal, and those who understand what communication style fits certain cultural and generational circumstances.
Creativity: One of the top skills to hire for right now includes creativity, which is highly valued in any job type or project. Creative employees see beyond the ordinary to develop ideas and work that inspires others. This right-brained approach is also effective for solving problems and helping other analytical minded employees explore other possibilities.
While this is not an exhaustive list of skills to recruit and hire for, these skills can help any organization to navigate the next few years as job roles change and technology continues to disrupt the world of work as we know it. There's no stopping the future of work, but by hiring more strategically at least we can hedge our bets as the landscape of business evolves.