At a time when circumstances change rapidly and almost daily, new skills and soft skills are needed to deal with the changes. Unfortunately, the reality is different: Many changes are ignored and new challenges are solved using outdated skills. But there is another way.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has put together a remarkable study of the skills needed to respond to new realities and challenges.
I must say one thing first: The studies, the third “Future of Jobs” report, referred to “tomorrow’s job skills”, i.e. the professional skills and qualifications for tomorrow’s future. But I think that’s probably too narrow, because I don’t think the skills mentioned need to be limited to work.
Soft skills: 10 skills that shape the future
So what are the skills highlighted by the WEF:
- analytical thinking and innovation
- active learning and learning strategies
- comprehensive problem solving
- critical thinking and analysis
- Creativity, originality and initiative
- leadership and social influence
- Use of technology, monitoring and control
- Technology design and programming
- Durability, resistance to stress and flexibility
- logical thinking, problem solving and brainstorming
If you look at these skills, you’ll find that eight out of the ten mentioned relate to more soft factors such as analytical thinking, creativity or resilience. That makes sense too.
In the coming years, simple tasks with a small decision bandwidth will be taken over by machines in more and more areas, for example in medicine, mobility or engineering.
One does not become useless
But this does not mean that people are completely redundant. Because the ever-increasing use of machines requires new skills from people – not just in terms of expertise. However, these are now moving in a different direction and, according to the WEF study, must be adapted to the following areas:
- decision making
- justify (argue)
- Get involved
Soft skills: Teaching new skills needs to be rethought
However, this now has serious consequences. After all, skills like analytical thinking, active learning or critical thinking cannot simply be taught in a weekend workshop. Rather, it takes time and long training to activate these skills and then continue to train them.
For this reason, for example, the transfer of knowledge in schools, whether primary or higher, must take place differently than today. It can no longer be just about imparting knowledge that can be acquired, but it must be about imparting understanding and how to deal with knowledge.
Furthermore, it is necessary to communicate how one can invent something new based on something that already exists and with an open mind. Furthermore, the ever-changing circumstances must be taken into account.
However, this cannot mean that static knowledge is now simply transmitted faster and faster, but rather that people need to be trained to deal with uncertainties and their consequences so that – to put it bluntly – they do not fear increasing speed. so big with the new things, then one better not move at all so as not to make a mistake.
A new way of dealing with employees in companies
In addition, the way in which companies treat employees will have to change. In many countries, continuing education and training still focuses on imparting new knowledge. However, in the future, employee training will have to move more and more towards “soft skills training”.
However, this will also bring a new way of measuring the success of the educational course. Because unlike pure transfer of new knowledge, where you can use a test to clarify whether the transfer of knowledge was successful, with soft skills it is not so easy or impossible so quickly.
Here it is not possible to simply use a test to clarify whether, for example, the employee’s dealings with other people have now been “successfully trained”. Rather, it will manifest itself in practice only after some time. However, as a result, this means that the metrics used to measure training success will change because the content of the training will change.
New requirements for leaders
In addition, new demands will be placed on managers. Because it will no longer be about the development, control and monitoring of processes. Rather, it will focus on interpersonal relationships in the company, as the taking over of individual tasks such as production or logistics is increasingly left to machines.
Creating a creative work environment, developing new skills in employees and connecting the “skill carriers”, employees, to the “skills network” in the company is increasingly important.
Conclusion: soft skills
The future presents us with challenges. These challenges require solutions that cannot be achieved through traditional methods. Rather, new skills are required, especially the development of soft skills. Because in more and more areas, machines will be able to perform tasks better than humans.
It won’t be like that in three or six years. But even that won’t last another hundred years. It is therefore important to address the changed challenges and required knowledge and skills now.
The ten skills identified by the World Economic Forum provide a good starting point for assessing whether you and those around you are ready for the future.