Adapting to Changing Times!
Times are changing and so is education and skilling. It is no longer about learning one skill. Traditional skills and subjects learnt, though important from a functional perspective, are no longer enough in this uncertain, interconnected, technology driven world that we are living in! Functional skills while important, the intangible skills are far more important in this VUCA world. Also, acquiring only functional skills will not futureproof you. And, to some extent, it is not even enough for the present that we are living in! For youngsters, many a time, focussing on the softer skills are more advantageous.
What are we talking about?
Before I talk about the skills required for the future, let us look at some data and numbers, which gives us a perspective on what is happening.
- The skill sets for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, this number is expected to double. (LinkedIn, 2022A)
- The world will need to reskill more than 1 billion people by 2030 because of technology-led changes in the workplace. (WEF, 2020A)
- For workers who will remain in their roles till 2025, the share of core skills that will change is 40%, and 50% of all employees will need reskilling. (WEF, 2020)
- 58% of the workforce needs new skills to get their jobs done. (Gartner, 2021)
- 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. (McKinsey, 2020)
- 74% of CEOs were concerned about the availability of key skills
- 40% of hirers now use skills data when hiring on LinkedIn
There is a plethora of new skills than are being sought after today and this is why it is important to focus on skill-based learning. I am going to talk about a lot of intangible skills in this article which will help you stay in good stead.
Skills for the Future
Often, I hear that creativity is inborn and cannot be learnt. I feel there is nothing far from truth than that. Humans naturally become creative when faced with adversity. Given the world is more uncertain than ever, creativity becomes a key skill to sustain in the future.
This, I believe is core to everything. As a coach, I have consistently seen brilliant people fail to grow in their career because of lack of confidence. Often times, it can be traced back to childhood, parenting and cultural biases. Many people become slaves to set notions and social conditioning. It is important to work on your self-belief and confidence and that often changes everything. One of the keys for this is to focus on your strength.
Whether we like it or not, we now live in a global world. We work with people virtually, from home and from everywhere. Having run large IT Services organizations, I have often seen that some of the brilliant engineers would freeze when you put them on the phone with a client. The clients on the other hand perceive this lack of communication as lack of knowledge, which is so untrue. I therefore believe one needs to work on their ability to communicate.
We are all social beings and so collaboration is a skill that is not going anywhere for a long time to come! We cannot thrive on our own. So, team up, lend that helping hand to someone and take help when you need it. The world saw how countries shared data with each other and helped each other during the pandemic. I believe it becomes more and more important in the future to be able to collaborate.
The ability to notice and predict opportunities, problems, and solutions. Analysing data and making inferences and finally being able to solve problems and communicate the information verbally and non-verbally is critical thinking. I don’t need to stress on how this is going to be important in the VUCA world.
Being stubborn or rigid can lead to roadblocks, but those who can quickly adapt are the ones who become successful. I am sure you will agree that the pandemic years have been a great teacher for flexibility. Being agile helps us deal with many of the uncertainties that the world might throw at us. This will aid us in being more resilient as well.
EI is often very underestimated but some of the best skilled people fail at the work place due to lack of Emotional Intelligence. EI takes on an important role in anyone’s career to grow as individuals and leaders, especially in the future world. Those who are able to recognize and harness their own emotions and also the emotions of the people they work with are going to be much sought after.
Encompassing all of the above is Digital. Digital is taking over all aspects of our lives. The ability to cope with digital trends and adapting to them will be an important skill that one has to come to terms with. “Cash on Delivery” was a term unique to India and ecommerce companies were running in losses as people were scared to use their credit cards just a little over a decade ago. In less than a decade, in India itself, we have gone from being scared of using credit cards to doing most of our transactions digitally. Of course, the pandemic again played a big role.
Finally, to be successful, we must be very aware of the diversity in our society and be able to work with all kinds of people. Be it gender, caste, creed, religion, age, socio-economic status, culture, nationality etc, our ability to work with diverse sets of people will be an important part of our success.
Being aware and skilling, in the right manner, is the passport to a promising future!