A new world order calls for fresh skill sets

Part 2 of this 2 part series scrutinizes the emergence of new jobs in the next five years, and what it means for our world.

The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020 revealed how the new division of labor between machines and humans would displace old jobs and create new job roles in the coming decade. Read more about the emerging and declining skills in our earlier story.

Emerging and declining skills

Organizations around the world are trying to unlock new growth potential by harnessing the power of advanced technologies, but their tech adoption drives are interrupted by skill shortages in the workforce. As depicted in the below chart, dearth of the right skills in the local labor market and failure to get hold of the right talent is a leading barrier to the adoption of new technologies.

Unable to find ready talent, employers offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities to about 62% of their workforce, and the provision is expected to further rise by 11% by 2025. Unfortunately, these courses lag in employee engagement and only 42% of the workers end up taking advantage of such opportunities for skill enhancement.

Skill shortage is a more serious problem in emerging professions. Business leaders have consistently maintained that it is difficult to hire for emerging roles like Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Application Developers and AI and Machine Learning Specialists, among others.

As depicted in the chart below, the top skills that employers anticipate to become more prominent by 2025 include groups like critical thinking, analysis and problem solving, a pattern consistent in previous years findings as well. This year’s new entrants in the arena are skills in self-management including active learning, stress tolerance, resilience and flexibility.

Cross cutting skills

Skills that are applicable and transferable across several occupations and roles are called cross-cutting skills. The report found that the demand for several cross-functional skills are rising progressively for the emerging professions. Some of the cross-cutting specialized skills of the future that would be required across a range of sectors are Product and Digital Marketing, Advertising, Social Media, Graphic Design, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), Business Management, Human Computer Interaction, Web Development, Management Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Retail Sales.

Emerging roles in Data and AI

Considering the increasing adoption of automation across industries, a large number of future jobs are expected to be created in that domain. The figure given below portrays the bunch of high growth, emerging roles in the Data and AI domain. The chart also demonstrates the skill gaps between source roles and destination roles when workers have moved professions over the past five years.

Skill development by self

Considering the radical shifts in the domain of work people have also started investing in self skill development. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic the demand for self-learning online courses peaked considerably. It was found that people who are employed placed more emphasis on personal development courses, that saw a growth of 88% among the population. However, people who are unemployed opted for digital skills courses that taught computer science, data analytics and information technology; and for courses that are more relevant to emerging jobs like Data and AI, Cloud Computing, etc.

The way ahead

Overall, we find that there is a collective awareness about the changing skills requirement among the business leaders, workers and national leaders. Although, the report states that 94% of the business leaders expect employees to learn new skills on the job, experts highlight the importance of formal upskilling and reskilling training programs to close the skills gap at the earliest. Large scale trainings for skill enhancement through government-private is deemed as the best way ahead as it would accelerate world’s economic growth while minimizing unemployment and inequality.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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