Advances in technology and automation are making many jobs obsolete. Driverless taxis are now operating in Singapore, algorithms determine which web ads we see and our cars are built by robots. In fact, as I watched some US Open tennis matches, I regularly saw human line judges overruled by an electronic line judging system when players appealed a call. So should you and I be worried or is it just hype?
Research by the World Economic Forum informs us that this change is real: “The Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.” However, this study also teaches us that, while some skills are becoming obsolete, others are in even higher demand. Therefore, staying relevant is a must for the 21st century employee.
The chart below provides more details about what is changing. By assessing job growth and decline over the past 30 years, we are offered a glimpse into the future. In short, employees who have strong social skills and math skills possess the attributes needed in growth occupations. The graphic below shows that the highest job growth occupations (the green dots) occurred when both social and math skills were present. Furthermore, all occupation growth required strong social skills and all job loss occurred in areas with lower social skill areas (pink dots). The largest job losses occurred in areas with low math and social skills.
The report reveals that many jobs which rely solely on math skills have been automated. Furthermore, jobs which rely solely on social skills are typically lower paying positions. This is a result of a surplus of the workforce who are able to fulfill these increasingly competitive roles.
To be competitive in the future workforce we need to develop strong social skills and strong math skills. For some of us, that will mean updating our skills or pursuing further education. For our children, it means they need to be immersed in curriculum which does this from a very early age.
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: World Economic Forum