Soft Skills That Safeguard Your Job in the AI World
Do you also feel that the world is divided into two: those who are qualified in and comfortable with technology and the rest of us? It feels like tech is taking over the world and if you don’t understand it, you’re be lost. If you are not a software programmer or someone who understand data sets, you’ve had it.
Not so fast. There are skills other than tech skills and the world are in dire need of them. They are called soft skills and are in great demand. Government institutions, business enterprises, and large tech companies all need employees that demonstrate these skills effectively.
Examples of invaluable soft skills in business are collaboration, innovation, problem-solving and negotiating.
We are always hearing about the shortage of tech skills, but companies are also finding it difficult to find candidates that possess appropriate and much-needed workplace or soft skills. In fact, one of the top reasons why companies are struggling to hire suitable candidates is the fact that many (30%) lack the right soft skills. According to this report, the top soft skills that are missing, are problem-solving and critical thinking, ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, and effective communication.
Another source reports that 81% of employers said prospective employees lack critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills.
Large companies loosen requirements
So you didn’t study business management and you are not into tech. Does this mean you’re unemployable? No, the gap between the skills that are available and the skills that are needed is creating an opportunity for people with soft skills.
CNBC reports that even tech companies like Google, Apple, IBM, Bank of America and Facebook no longer require applicants to have a college degree. These companies are evaluating what skills candidates have when they apply for a job. It doesn’t matter if your resume reflects the title “manager” accompanied by a relevant degree or not. If you know you have management skills and you can demonstrate it, you can apply for a management position.
Janelle Gale, Facebook’s vice president of human resources, told CNBC that prospective candidates should evaluate their skills and apply even if their resume does not exactly match the job description, saying that the company values skills over experience.
The need for soft skills in a high-tech world
In spite of the rise of artificial intelligence, or maybe because of it, the world needs people proficient in soft skills as much as it needs tech professionals. After all, robots are not creative; they can produce facts, but can’t deliver a persuasive argument; they don’t understand subtle nuance and they are not questioning. For real advancement, the world still needs human ingenuity. Robots don’t have a gut feeling, and how often has a gut feeling not lead to solving a mystery, whether criminal or scientific?
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report predicts that soft skills like originality, initiative and critical thinking will likely become more valuable in the face of technological advancement.
These soft skills will land you a job
The networking site for professionals, LinkedIn, analyzed their own data to find out what skills companies are looking for in 2019. Here are the top five soft skills companies need now. Maybe you fit the bill.
The need for creativity in the workplace is undisputed. Creatives see unusual possibilities and bring new perspectives to the table. They are the people who can turn volumes of data into innovative solutions.
Creatives either spot new opportunities quickly or are prepared to explore new opportunities. They also tend not to be put out by change since they like to try new things or new ways of doing things.
If you possess these qualities, it can be invaluable for a company. With your different perspective, new solutions to problems can be found, helping your company to flourish in a competitive environment.
As LinkedIn puts it so succinctly: Having a great product, a great platform or a great concept is one thing, but the key is persuading people to buy into it. The products and services of the future will have as their most prominent selling point the incorporation of AI. All good and well, but AI, however impressive, can’t sell itself.
In the future, companies will still need a sales team to win over the hearts and minds of prospective customers and to retain existing ones.
The increasing adoption of AI and other sophisticated technologies in the workplace have changed the nature of work. Where work used to be mostly routine, it has become multifaceted. The work environment has become complex and the projects employees work on have also become too complex for one person to handle.
The ability to collaborate is becoming an essential skill that employers look for. Collaboration on a project allows for different perspectives and greater opportunities to solve problems.
To survive and thrive in a rapidly changing work environment you have to be able to adapt. These days no one can escape constant change. The better you are at adapting to change, the greater your chance of success.
In today’s working environment, employees are expected to work on a project and then change their focus to work on another project that suddenly has more priority. If you’re not adaptable, it’s an impossible situation to be in, especially when it’s ongoing.
No wonder adaptability is regarded as such an essential skill in the workplace that some business schools and companies offer courses to help employees to become more adaptable. London School of Business and Finance, for instance, put their students in simulated situations where they have to deal with challenges outside their comfort zones.
5. Time management
With poor time management skills come loss of productivity and no company can afford that. This is an essential skill that benefits the individual as well as the workplace.
The same analyses by LinkedIn also established the hard skills companies need most. They are cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytical reasoning, people management and UX design.
While advanced technologies like artificial intelligence threatening many existing jobs, these technologies are not necessarily diminishing job opportunities for those who are not tech wizards. If you can demonstrate that you are competent in certain essential job skills, employers, even tech companies, will certainly give you a second look.
Imagine what you can accomplish if you have a qualification in advanced technology like machine learning or computer vision and you have developed your soft skills. On the other hand, a worker who knows how to write code, but doesn’t get on with co-workers, won’t adapt and can’t communicate, won’t be regarded as a valuable asset.