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Man vs. Machine – What skills will be relevant in the next 10 years?

Posted by: ADP on 3 March 2017 in Human Capital Management, Human Resources, Innovation & Technology

Robot assistants and virtual workspaces where time and location no longer matter – will this be the reality of the working world in a decade? In an increasingly globalised digital world, what skills will you need to survive?

In our latest research, The Workforce View in Europe 2017, we explored the skills and training required now and in ten years’ time to see how expectations are changing.

At the moment, the skills that employees are focused on are fairly traditional. Language skills are deemed most important, reflecting the global nature of the economy. Other knowledge-based areas such as job specific skills, industry knowledge, and finance and budgeting are also among the top 10 skills employees think are important. We can see the growing importance of technology, with advanced IT skills and new technology and devices taking the second and third place, respectively.

Fast forward ten years, and we can see the ‘man vs machine’ scenario becoming a reality. IT skills are now top of the list. The proliferation of new mobile devices and technological applications has left the European workforce anticipating a need for new technology and advanced IT skills training.

While language, job-specific and interpersonal skills are still considered important, we will see entrepreneurial skills becoming a core part of our skill set. According to the research, employees think that self-motivation, productivity, creativity and self-management are going to be essential in the job market. This perhaps reflects the rise in the so-called gig economy, with growing number of workers deciding to go freelance or become self-employed, as traditional careers become less common.

How should employers react?

From an employer’s perspective, frequently reviewing your training offering will be key to building a workforce that can keep up with the times. Although job specific skills shouldn’t be overlooked, technology, languages and interpersonal skills are going to be just as important. And while ‘entrepreneurial’ skills may not seem like the main focus right now, encouraging employees in these areas will benefit productivity levels and innovation in the long run.

When investing in training, it is also important not to leave behind more mature employees who may require additional support with skills such as IT literacy. This is reflected in the findings, as the over 55s have the lowest confidence that they have the skills they need to succeed, while the 25-34 year olds are the most confident.

Employee training is critical to ensuring that workers not only have the skills they need, but training can also boost productivity, morale and lead to better engagement and retention within the workforce. This leaves us with a number of questions. How in tune are you with your workforce? Do they have the skills they need to succeed? Does your organisation have the skills it needs to drive productivity in the years to come?

 Local MD

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