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The 10 Human Skills You Need to Succeed in the Age of AI
Future-proof your career by developing the Top Human Skills for navigating the AI revolution
Our work culture has traditionally valued hard skills - such as technical expertise - over soft skills like interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence. As a result, both you and I have likely been influenced by this culture, which has placed a greater emphasis on technical skills as a key to achieving workplace success.
For a long time, hard skills have been seen as the foundation for building a successful career. If you didn't have the technical skills required for your job, it was often considered a liability. Unfortunately, not enough attention has been given to the importance of soft skills - those human skills that help us communicate and collaborate effectively. While many companies today talk about the need for empathy and teamwork, few people actually experience these values in action. That's because our capitalist system prioritises efficiency and output above all else, and soft skills are often viewed as secondary or "nice to have" rather than essential for success.
The workplace is undergoing a significant transformation as we speak. The rise of Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we work and think about our skills. The truth is that computers are becoming more efficient than humans when it comes to technical, hard skills required for most knowledge-based jobs. As a result, the question arises: what value can you bring to the company if your hard-skills are no longer needed? In this new era, what will be the focus of companies during the hiring process, if not the technicalities of a role?
Welcome to the Age of Human Skills, a time where our focus needs to shift from hard-skills to human skills. You're going to hear this term more often in the coming years, and it's not just a fancy buzzword. With the rise of AI and automation, technical skills won't be enough to guarantee success in most roles anymore.
But what are human skills, and how do we develop them? That's what we'll explore in this article. We need to shift our mindset and approach to work and learn to prioritise the human skills that AI can't provide. By finding the right balance between technical and human skills, we can future-proof our careers.
Fortunately, the World Economic Forum just released the Future of Jobs Report 2023, which provides valuable insights into the most in-demand human skills in the next five years. Based on the report, we've compiled a list of ten human skills that will help you not only survive but thrive in the age of AI and automation. So, let's dive in and discover what skills you need to succeed in this new era.
What are human skills?
Human skills are essentially the set of interpersonal abilities that enable us to work effectively with other people. They are also known as people skills, social skills, or even emotional intelligence. While the term 'soft skills' has been used to describe these skills for a long time, I believe 'human skills' is a more individualist and accurate term. It reflects the fact that these skills are distinctly human and cannot be replicated or replaced by machines. Human skills include things like communication, empathy, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, and leadership. They are essential to thriving in the modern workplace and will become even more important as we continue to navigate the age of AI and automation.
Key findings of the WEF report
The Future of Jobs Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum identified the most in-demand skills for workers in the next five years. The report is based on a survey of more than 1,000 business leaders from 26 countries and 20 industries. While it estimates that AI and automation will create 69 million new jobs by 2027, it will also eliminate 83 million jobs, thus resulting in a deficit of 14 million jobs.
But it is NOT all bad news. According to Saadia Zahidi, the managing director of WEF and one of the core authors of this report, the developments in AI and the push for green technologies will ultimately have a net positive effect on the job market.
While I encourage you to read the entire report in detail, for the convenience of the readers, I have briefly summarised the 4 major takeaways from this report.
According to the report, analytical thinking, creative thinking and AI and big data are the top three skills that will be required by 2027. These skills reflect the need for workers to be able to reason, solve problems and leverage technology in a rapidly changing and complex world.
Other skills that will see growing demand include leadership and social influence, curiosity and lifelong learning, resilience, flexibility and agility, and motivation and self-awareness. These skills emphasise the importance of human qualities such as adaptability, collaboration and emotional intelligence in the workplace.
The report also warns that 60% of workers will need additional training by 2027 to keep up with the skill shifts caused by technology adoption, the green transition and other factors. However, only half of the workers have access to adequate training opportunities, creating a gap between supply and demand of skills.
The report urges employers, governments and educators to work together to provide workers with the necessary learning and development opportunities to prepare them for the future of work. It also calls for workers to take charge of their own learning journeys and embrace lifelong learning as a mindset.
I also recommend watching the interview conducted by DW News in which Saadia Zahidi, the managing director of WEF summarised the findings of this report.
10 Human skills you need to survive the AI disruption
Based on the findings of WEF on what human skills will be most in demand in the next 5 years, I have devised the top 10 skills that we need to survive the AI disruption.
Embrace a growth mindset and prioritise lifelong learning to stay relevant and adapt to changing demands in the workplace.
Develop your analytical thinking skills by seeking out opportunities to solve problems and analyse data in your current role or through additional training.
Cultivate creative thinking skills through exploring new ideas, experimenting with new approaches and seeking out opportunities to innovate.
Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in AI and big data, and seek out opportunities to learn how to leverage these technologies in your work.
Focus on developing leadership and social influence skills, such as communication, collaboration and empathy, to effectively lead and work with others in a rapidly changing environment.
Harness the power of curiosity by seeking out new experiences, asking questions and exploring new areas of interest.
Develop resilience and adaptability skills by embracing change, taking on new challenges and learning from setbacks and failures.
Improve your flexibility and agility skills by seeking out opportunities to work in different roles, departments or industries and developing a diverse range of skills.
Prioritise self-awareness by regularly reflecting on your strengths, weaknesses and goals, and setting clear priorities for your career development.
Take charge of your own learning by seeking out training opportunities, networking with peers and mentors, and continuously seeking feedback and growth opportunities.
Navigating the Age of AI requires us to prioritise and develop our human skills alongside technical skills. The list of human skills I have shared in this article is just the beginning. As AI continues to reshape the job market, new skills and requirements will emerge, and we must remain adaptable and continuously up-skill.
Remember that while career disruption can be daunting, it also presents opportunities for growth and learning. With the right mindset and a commitment to developing our human skills, we can not only survive but thrive in the age of AI.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of the importance of human skills in the age of AI. Remember, these skills are not just limited to the workplace but are essential for personal growth as well. If you found this article helpful, please do share it with your family, friends, and colleagues. And if you want to stay updated on the latest trends and insights related to AI and automation, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter. In the coming weeks, we'll be delving deeper into the topic of transitioning your technical skills and using automation to your advantage, so stay tuned for more informative content.
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