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Top Trending Job Skills of 2020 and Beyond – Leading Companies are Searching for…

The fourth industrial revolution is characterized by nascent technologies fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies, domains and industries. So how does it influence Job Skills that will be in high demand as we enter into 2020?

Top Trending Job Skills of 2020 and Beyond – Leading Companies are Searching for…

Since the early eighteenth century, it has taken four industrial revolutions to reshape our social, cultural, economic and human environments. Now we are living through the fourth industrial revolution, which represents a fundamental change in the way we live, work and relate to one another. It is a new phase in human development, enabled by extraordinary technology advances, ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing, intelligent robots and assistants, autonomous cars, neuro-technological brain enhancements, predictive analytics, genetic editing and much more. The evidence of histrionic change is all around us and it’s happening at an accelerated pace.

For more technology insights, follow me @Asamanyakm

Every industrial revolution introduced new skill sets, set echelons of expertise as well as defined strata of requisite experience, so the same is expected from the fourth industrial revolution. However, this revolution is fundamentally different from the previous ones. It is characterized by an array of new technologies that are creating a fusion of the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies, domains and industries, and even producing thought-provoking ideas about the true meaning of being human.

The resulting shifts and disruptions signify that we live in a time of great promise as well as great danger. The world has the capacity to connect billions of more people to digital networks, dramatically enhance the efficiency of organizations and even manage assets in ways that can help regenerate the natural environment, potentially undoing the damage of previous industrial revolutions. However, there are concerns that organizations might be unable to adapt, governments could fail to employ and regulate new technologies to encapsulate their benefits, shifting power may create important new security issues, inequality may reach greater heights and societies may fall apart.

As responsible citizens, we need to understand that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is within the control of all of us till we can collaborate across geographies, sectors and disciplines to captivate the opportunities it presents for which we need to build appropriate capabilities. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 over one-third of skills i.e. around 35% that are considered essential in today’s workforce will change. While it may not seem appropriate to predict with conviction, yet, studying the trend, here are a few important job skills every company will be looking for in 2020.

Data Education - With the onset of the fourth industrial revolution, enterprise data has become the most important business asset. More so because the emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning produce better results when the algorithms are fed with massive amounts of data. If organizations do not use this new fuel called data to drive their business success, they will inexorably lag in the competition. This realization is dawning on the corporates and hence the emphasis on data education. Already we are noticing an increase in demand for individuals who have data education and are proficient in extracting business value from organizational data for unveiling more profound insights as well as opportunities.

Cognitive Flexibility - It is traditionally defined in terms of how well an individual can adopt another perspective, change the track of thinking, or mentally adapt to the environmental changes. It is a measure of how flexibly we can engage various parts of our brain to respond to a task, whether the task requires us to think differently. Most activities require us to call upon our reserves of personal experience, factual knowledge, and imagination to address the task at hand. How well we do this depends on how flexibly we can navigate these three domains. Simply put, it is the ability to revise your plans in the face of obstacles, setbacks, new information, or mistakes. Essentially, it is your ability to adapt when a situation changes, which implies its importance in any field. Cognitive flexibility is strengthened when your brain has more neural pathways and connections. As we try to manage the constant deluge of information brought on by technology and digital media in the 21st century, leading employers such as Amazon, Google, Mercedes, Nike, Facebook and the like are found searching for resources who exhibit this flexibility skill.

Critical Thinking – It refers to the ability to analyze information quantitatively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of sources, such as data, facts, observable phenomena, and research findings. Good critical thinkers can decipher reasonable conclusions from a set of information and discriminate between useful and less useful details to solve problems or make decisions. Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought and offer the best solution. Someone with critical thinking skills can be trusted to make decisions independently and will not need constant hand-holding. Critical thinking abilities are already among the most sought-after skills in almost every industry and workplace. This trend is going to grow further as we step into 2020.

Technical Prowess – As the fourth industrial revolution will continue to impact every industry, technical skills will become mandatory irrespective of the job role since the workforce will not be able to manage without digital tools. Technologies such as Artificial intelligence, Reinforcement Learning, Internet of Things, virtual, mixed and augmented reality,  robotics, blockchain, and more will become a part of every professional's daily work routine, whether the workplace is a factory or hospital, a law firm or educational institution. So, not only do people need to be comfortable with these tools, they will need to develop skills to work with them. Awareness of these technologies and relevant technical skills will be required for every job from a beautician to a doctor, a sportsperson to a banker and so on.

Adaptability – In this digital age, change is the new permanent. With frequently changing scenarios in life and work environments, adaptability is becoming an essential element for the survival of individuals and sustenance of the business. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Tesla and Walmart test out resources on their readiness to adapt with flexibility to any form of change. Modern-day organizations believe their employees should be open to learning new skills as and when required because what worked yesterday is not working today, what is working today, need not work for tomorrow. Hence job-seeking candidates must hone skills to accommodate to changes and openness to learn to stay in demand.

Creativity – Cannot ignore the fact that the best and most powerful creation is still the human brain. Also, humans are still way better at creativity than any machine. It’s necessary for companies to employ creative humans for churning new ideas and consistently invent something new for a better future. Nextgen workplaces will demand new ways of thinking, and human creativity will remain critical to moving forward.

Emotional Intelligence – An extremely significant area where humans have the edge on machines is with emotional intelligence measured by EQ, i.e., our ability to be aware of, control, and express our emotions and get influenced by the emotions of others. This ability will be important as humans cannot be completely expendable by machines in the workforce.  Since emotional intelligence impacts every interaction we have with one another, this skill will continue to be in high demand across professions and industries.

Cultural Intelligence - Cultural intelligence or cultural quotient (CQ) can be understood as the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures. When you are working in an international environment, you need to make a real effort to understand the cultural backgrounds, beliefs and attitudes of the people around you. If you don't, you will struggle to get things done. Cultural intelligence is related to emotional intelligence, but it goes one step further.  Those with high cultural intelligence are attuned to the values, beliefs, attitudes, and body language of people from different cultural backgrounds and they use this knowledge to interact with empathy and understanding. First, building cultural intelligence helps you work effectively with people who are different from you. Whether you are working abroad or leading a culturally diverse team, it can mean the difference between success and failure, and the difference between solving problems and creating them. High cultural intelligence will also help you build rapport with a new team, adjust to a new department, or work well with a cross-functional team and this is what will be needed more as we move ahead.

Leadership Skills - Leadership skills will be dominant for not only those at the top of an outdated corporate hierarchy but increasingly for those individuals throughout the organization who are expected to lead in the fourth industrial revolution. Enabled by the support of machines, there will be more individuals who are in decision-making positions, whether leading project teams or departments. Understanding how to bring out the best in and inspire every individual within a diverse and distributed workforce requires strong leadership skills. The concept of leading without a bestowed Title or Designation and having a natural inclination to lead by example will be on the rise.

Decision Making – Machine Learning models might be able to analyze data at a high velocity, and depth humans are incapable of, but many decisions regarding what to do with the information provided by the algorithms must be still made by humans. Humans with the ability to take input from the data while considering how decisions can impact the broader perspective, including effects on human sensibilities such as self-esteem and morale, are indispensable. So, even if the data supports one decision, a human brain is essential to think about how a decision could impact other areas of the business, including the people involved.

Collaboration - It is the process of two or more people or organizations, working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Most collaboration requires leadership, although the form of leadership can be social within a decentralized environment. When companies are looking to hire humans in the days to come, skills that are uniquely human such as collaboration and strong interpersonal skills will be emphasized. They will want employees on their team who can interact well with others and help drive the company forward collectively without any conflicts.

In addition to the skills enumerated above that every company will be looking for, there are several self-management skills that will make people more successful in the future, including self-motivation, ability to prioritize tasks and inspire, effective time management, stress management and the ability to embrace as well as implement change. Those people who have a growth mindset, are adroit at experimenting, hungry for training harder under adverse circumstances and learning from blunders, as well as have a strong sense of curiosity, will be highly desirable in the years to come.

For more technology insights, follow me @Asamanyakm

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