skills-share

The Skills Needed to Survive the Robot Invasion of the Workplace

Automation is coming to the workplace.

Millions of jobs will be destroyed, but many jobs will also be simultaneously created in the process as well.

For those in the workforce – or for those just joining it for the first time – the big question is: what skills are needed to navigate this monumental shift in the economy? How will humans create value in an increasingly automated world?

The Human Touch

Today’s infographic comes to us from Guthrie Jensen, and it summarizes the skills needed in 2020 and beyond to take advantage of the shifting landscape of work.

In short, for those looking to future proof their careers, building competencies in areas that machines will be unlikely to tackle effectively (i.e. complex problem solving, creativity) is likely the best recipe for success.

The Skills Needed to Survive the Robot Invasion of the Workplace

It can be daunting to think about automation’s role in the future – but if you’re a bookkeeper, legal secretary, insurance underwriter, credit analyst, or any other person in a job with high automation potential, it would be prudent to be thinking long and hard about what you can offer beyond your existing set of skills and competencies.

Here’s just a quick look at automation potential of select positions, according to a study by Oxford University:

PositionChance of Automation PositionChance of Automation
Telemarketer99%Physician0.4%
Tax Preparer99%Dentist0.4%
Insurance Underwriter99%Computer Systems Analyst0.7%
Bookkeeping Clerk98%Registered Nurse0.9%
Legal Secretary98%Teacher1.0%
Credit Analyst98%Microbiologist1.2%
Loan Officer98%Pharmacist1.2%
Real Estate Broker97%Sales Manager1.3%
Payroll Clerk97%Engineer1.4%
Accountant94%CEO1.5%
Budget Analyst94%PR Manager1.5%
Pharmacy Technician92%Architect1.8%

So how do we set ourselves up for future success in a world where even real estate brokers are likely to be automated?

It Starts With Soft Skills

There are many considerations for career success during a time of significant change.

However, there’s a good case that skills – especially soft skills – are the most important foundation to build upon. These include things like the ability to communicate and work well with others, solve problems, and think outside of the box, as well as other aspects of emotional intelligence.

Here are some skills that experts say should be prioritized:

1. Complex Problem Solving
It’s true that AI can solve problems that humans cannot – but it also goes the other way. When problem solving needs to span multiple industries or when problems are not fully defined, humans can work backwards to figure out a solution.

2. Critical Thinking
Machines are getting better at aspects of critical thinking, but humans are still able to to connect, interpret and imagine concepts in a world full of ambiguity and nuance. A lawyer can pinpoint the exact positioning to make a case for a client, or a marketer can figure out an overarching message that can resonate with consumers.

3. Creativity
Creativity requires a degree of intuitive randomness that can not yet be imitated by AI. Why did the architect design the building a certain way, and why did the musician improvise by playing a chord out of key? It’s hard to explain why to a computer – it just feels right.

Other important soft skills to consider?

People management, coordinating with others, decision-making, negotiation, and serving others will all be important going forward as well.

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