Advanced robotics, autonomous transport, artificial intelligence; these are just some of the many progresses we’ve made. And there’s no stopping. As we advance deeper into the realm of technology, the future workforce will need to align its skill set to keep pace. Gone are the days children were forced to enter the fields of engineering and medicine. We’re welcoming the days where skills like creativity and emotional intelligence will give you an edge over the others.
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1. People Management
There is no doubt that people are every organisation’s most important asset. Each individual binds every aspect of working life together and directly affects productivity. This skill will become increasingly relevant by 2020 where fast evolving and changing technology will replace most low-skilled jobs and produce 2.3 million highly specialised jobs – 40% of which will require a tertiary-level education. As the economy transits to a new phase, it is important to inspire people, assuage fears and provide transformational leadership while changing employee’s roles and responsibilities, introducing new work processes and embarking on a new business strategy.
Gear up at: The University of Michigan curated a highly specific curriculum on Leading People and Teams. In 4 weeks, you’ll not only walk away with the know-hows on human resource management but also hear from industry experts including Jeff Brodsky, Global Head of HR for Morgan Stanley.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Jack G. Montgomery of Western Kentucky University says that emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, and influence. And this is one of the fastest growing job skill. As we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technical skills can (and will be) replaced with machinery and technology. But the importance of carefully thought-through decisions, empathy and teamwork will be even more crucial than ever with the rates of change and pressures in the workplace rising.
Gear up at: The Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) developed a 2-day course that’s fit for staff of any level. It doesn’t matter whether you’re entry level or managerial level; emotional intelligence is an essential skill for professional and personal development.
As we rely more and more on machines to make strategic decisions based on big data, human leaders are increasingly needed to supply the one thing machines cannot: creativity, especially in terms of problem solving. Creativity will always remain important but as more operations become automated and processes become streamlined, agencies are going to depend on creativity to differentiate themselves, stay alive and ultimately thrive. The good news is, contrary to popular belief, creativity can be nurtured.
Gear up at: Dive deep with this course put together by the Marketing Institute of Singapore. Learn the psychology behind problem solving, then unlearn the old ways you’ve stuck to all this while, and finally relearn the roots of problem solving – this time by implementing the creativity ways you are challenged to nurture in this 2-day course.
4. Service Orientation
By definition, service orientation, is a predisposition to being helpful, thoughtful, considerate and cooperative. By 2020, this definition would have only changed slightly: actively looking for ways to help others. This would be essential in the workplace because even as machines replace jobs, the one thing that cannot be replaced is human interaction. Such non-routine interaction is at the heart of the human advantage over machines. A service-oriented person has excellent communication and problem solving skills, and is likely to thrive in service industries.
Gear up at: NTUC LearningHub has tailor-made a suite of courses for Operational, Supervisory and Managerial persons so whichever group you fall in, be rest assured they’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a frontline service staff or a behind-the-scene service operator, you’ll learn the ropes of selling the experience that will keep customers coming back for more.
5. Critical Thinking
The global knowledge economy is now driven by advances in information and technology that places great emphasis on flexible intellectual skills. In order to remain on par with the changing economy, one has to be able to analyse information and integrate diverse sources of knowledge in solving problems logically and rationally. Good critical thinking promotes such thinking skills, and is very important in the fast-changing workplace.
Gear up at: At Kaplan, you start with equipping yourself with the skill and then learn to pass it on to others in your team and workplace. It is virtually impossible to stage a one-man show so learning to encourage critical thinking in others will help complement teamwork and increase productivity.
While most of us grew up in an age where technical skills were heavily emphasised, we are undeniably moving into a phase where the same skills that brought about the Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform the way we live and work. Soft skills will now cushion our fall and prepare us to integrate seamlessly into a time of increased competition (from machinery and technology).