Are you ready? How to get a job that doesn’t exist yet.

Could a robot do your job? Millions of people who didn’t see automation coming will soon find out the painful way. The answer is a resounding yes.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs study predicts that 5 million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.

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“Without urgent and targeted action today, to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

 New skills for new economies

So what skills should workers be acquiring to make sure they have value as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace? Some may be surprised to learn that skills we develop in pre-school will be valued highly.

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University, argues that soft skills like sharing and negotiating will be crucial. He says the modern workplace, where people move between separate roles and projects, closely resembles pre-school classrooms, where we learn social skills such as empathy and cooperation.

Deming has mapped the changing needs of employers and identified key skills that will be required to thrive in the job market of the near future. Along with those soft skills, mathematical ability will be enormously beneficial.

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The study shows that workers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.

So, what are the soft skills you will need to get a job in the future?

Communication

As a soft skill, communication is not about multiple syllables or rousing speeches. Able communicators can adjust their tone and style according to their audience, comprehend and act efficiently on instructions, and explain complex issues to colleagues and clients alike. Communication is also an important aspect of leadership, since leaders must be able to delegate clearly and comprehensibly.

Here is a link to a great communication training video: https://youtu.be/HAnw168huqA

Self-Motivation

Having the positive attitude and the initiative to work well without round-the-clock supervision is a vital soft skill for any employee. Not only does it demonstrate reliability and commitment, but it shows that you can fit efficiently into an organisational structure without the need for constant oversight.

Leadership

Leadership is a soft skill you can show even if you’re not directly managing others. Leadership can be thought of as a collection of various other soft skills, such as a general positive attitude and outlook, the ability to communicate effectively, and an aptitude for both self-motivating and motivating others.

Responsibility

Self-awareness is a seldom talked about but highly valued soft skill; knowing when to accept responsibility for any mistakes you have made demonstrates a healthy level of humility, and a willingness to learn and progress.

Teamwork

Like leadership, good teamwork involves a combination of other soft skills. Working in a team towards a common goal requires the intuition and interpersonal acumen to know when to be a leader, and when to be a listener. Good team players are perceptive, as well as receptive to the needs and responsibilities of others.

Problem Solving

Problem solving does not just require analytical, creative and critical skills, but a mindset: those who can approach a problem with a cool and level head will often reach a solution more efficiently than those who cannot. This is a soft skill which can often rely on strong teamwork too. Problems need not always be solved alone. The ability to know who can help you reach a solution, and how they can do it, can be a great advantage.

Decisiveness

Knowing the distinction between decisiveness and recklessness implies a soft skill. Decisiveness combines many different abilities: the ability to put things into perspective, to weigh up the options, to assess all relevant information and, crucially, to anticipate the consequences, good and bad.

Ability to Work Under Pressure and Time Management

Many jobs come with demanding deadlines and occasionally high stakes. Recruiters prize candidates who show a decisive attitude, an unfaltering ability to think clearly, and a capacity to compartmentalize and set stress aside. Time management is closely related to the ability to work under pressure, as well as within tight deadlines. Employees who manage their time well can efficiently prioritize tasks and organised their diaries, while adopting an attitude which allows them to take on new tasks and deadlines.

Flexibility

Naturally, people can be wary of leaving the comfort zone formed by their repertoire of hard skills. Flexibility is an important soft skill, since it demonstrates an ability and willingness to acquire new hard skills, and an open-mindedness to new tasks and new challenges. Employers often seek candidates who can show a willing and upbeat attitude, since many jobs come with the possibility of secondments.

Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

This is another of those soft skills which employers look for in potential leaders. To be an adept negotiator is to know how to be persuasive and exert influence, while sensitively seeking a solution which will benefit all parties. Similarly, conflict resolution depends on strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish a rapport with colleagues and clients alike.

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From man or to machine

No one really knows which jobs will be automated in the future. But one thing is clear: as machines become more pervasive, so too do the humans who teach and interact with them. As we’ve already seen in the airline business, autopilot didn’t put pilots out of a job; instead it foreshadowed an increasing collaboration between human and machine on complex tasks.

As automation gains ground, the human workforce has the intriguing possibility of further developing uniquely human skills that machines cannot match or replicate. In an unusual twist on industry practice, automotive giant Toyota is removing robots from its factories because human workers can, unlike their machine counterparts, propose ideas for improvement.

Machines, it seems, are not very good with innovation. They’re not very good at certain types of agility, either. Watch Parisian waiters in action and ask yourself how long it would take for robots to put them out of a job.

Then there’s empathy, creativity, leadership, intuition and social intelligence. If I were to give younger people an idea of the skills they’ll need, these would be on the list, as well as advice to pay attention to how machines function and think.

“Learn your enemy’s language.” If machines are coming for us we need to understand how they function.

Lessons from history

The problem with the changing world of work is not so much the loss of opportunities as the period of transition.

A CEO of a 40,000-people company was asked to list the skills he thought would be needed in a digital, data-driven future. He mentioned programmers, designers and online marketing specialists

For those whose training is becoming obsolete, and organizations needing completely new skills in a short amount of time, the transition will be complicated. As the author Alvin Toffler once predicted, the future belongs to those who can unlearn and relearn.

History tells us that technology creates more opportunities and jobs. The state of the world might look confusing and worrying, but it is not. Virtual or tangible, automated or humanized, work is changing in many ways, but the fundamentals remain: acquiring skills and doing things that people need.

A few skills that take a long time to master but will be with you forever could be the difference in being successful or unsuccessful for the future. You will be surprised to hear, these skills don’t include finding ways to get more done in less hours, cutting out lunches and avoiding timely conversations. No, these skills are much more holistic and based on individual’s mindfulness and positivity.

  1. Make time for self-care

Today, your career success is often linked to the number of hours you can devote to achieving your goals. The author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class master in your field. But in pursuit of our dreams, we often neglect other areas of our lives.

We should pay more attention to the psychological and emotional well-being of others, and that far from being a “soft” issue, it lies at the root of many modern challenges. By learning to take pain seriously, and carve out time for self-care, we can become healthier and more resilient both in our workplaces and our homes.

  1. Stop rushing

One of the greatest skills we can learn from older generations is to be kind to ourselves. When watching and interacting with older people we are reminded that putting undue pressure on ourselves to reach self-imposed milestones is unhelpful.

According to Pew research, women generally feel more rushed than men, with working mothers hit the hardest hit: 40% of them report that they always feel rushed.

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In relation to this, we can choose to organize our lives in such a way as to show which things have value. Rethabile Mashale Sonibare, social worker and founder of Thope Foundation, explains that we have the same amount of time in a day, and therefore how we choose to use it “determines how successful we are in achieving our goals”. She suggests apportioning your time between developing yourself, spending time with family and friends, and immersing yourself in work that serves your purpose.

  1. Speak up, speak out

There is a tendency – particularly for women – to believe that if they work hard and for long enough they will be sufficiently recognized and rewarded. Genna Gardini, a writer and educator, spent many years trying to make herself invisible to “quietly produce interesting work that surprises people”. However, upon reflection, she learned that this only served to make her invisible to herself. She therefore urges: “If you need to speak, speak.” Have boldness and courage to share your work and ideas for the benefit of others, whether that be through provocation, critique or praise.

  1. Be curious

Young people around the world are reshaping the systems that we have clung to for decades. Movements such as the Arab Spring, and the more recent decolonization efforts in South Africa, are led by younger generations demanding the freedoms and rights they have been promised. Gardini reflects on how much she has learned from her students. Watching them insist on an education and grapple with difficult concepts, she feels empowered by their belief that they have every right to question unjust systems.

Fashion designer Valerie Amani, meanwhile, attributes her sense of curiosity to the many questions thrown her way by her nieces. She explains: “As a teenager, I found that to be incredibly annoying because I didn’t understand why they wanted to know so much. Looking back, I realize the importance of being curious, being alert and not only asking questions, but asking questions until you get a truthful answer”.

  1. Be kind and fair

In a world where discrimination, injustice and pain are part of everyday life, kindness is in constant demand. Jos Dirkx, a media and communications expert who founded Girls and Football SA, believes that channelling kindness and power is one of the greatest skills you can learn, and there are only a few great leaders who are able to do both.

By exercising power with kindness, we encourage respect and tolerance. Clinical psychologist Nicky Abdinor says: “If we look at any excellent work in our community, it is always linked to a personal story where we understood a need, could identify with a problem and felt empowered enough to believe that our contribution (no matter how small) could make a difference.”

  1. Don’t treat suffering as the enemy

We tend to believe there is a quick fix for most things, but suffering is not the enemy. Comfort is not the way to truly live, and the culture of instant gratification and materialism that is so easy to fall into at home and in the workplace, can cause us to become demotivated and depressed.

As with hard skills, you should spend some time considering what your soft skills are (it may help to ask people who know you well) and highlight them wherever possible in both your CV and in job interviews. Hard skills can be shown via qualifications, but soft skills are slightly more slippery.

Since soft skills are necessarily abstract, you should reinforce any claims with examples of when you were able to use them to achieve positive outcomes. These examples can be drawn from professional, personal or academic experiences. Remember to show, don’t tell: simply stating that you are a great communicator, for example, can have the ironic effect of undermining the very soft skill you are claiming to have.

If you have been an undergraduate student, you will probably have experience of juggling various deadlines and extra-curricular responsibilities. If you have previously worked in any job with a customer service element, you may have had to use your communication and conflict resolution skills to manage any complaints.

Otherwise, with your CV, the easiest and most essential way to show your soft skills of communication and attention to detail is to proofread ruthlessly, and eliminate any typos. When you attend an interview, remember that this is your first chance to show your interpersonal skills to your prospective employers. Be professional, make eye contact, shake hands, listen closely to the questions and answer them fully.e.png

Looking at the shift in the Top 10 skills employers need, speaks louder than words… Times are changing. Will time be your friend OR enemy?download.jpg

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Author: mindfulnessteachtutorlearn

Enjoying making memories and learning something new every day.

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