A guide to the skills market of the future

Samantha Rutter

By Samantha Rutter, chief executive of the Open Study College, based at Birmingham Business Park.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in the workplace has become somewhat of a hot topic recently. Many people are concerned about how it will affect the skills and job markets of the future. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it has come to be known, presents a great deal of change and uncertainty, but also a multitude of new and exciting opportunities.

On the face of it, the majority of the workforce are nervous about the stability of their careers. Ultimately, they are eager to understand whether their job will exist in the next 5 or 10 years. And with the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicting that robots could replace over 52% of job roles by the year 2025, you can understand the apprehension.

It is expected that 75 million jobs could be lost to machines by 2022 (WEF, 2018). Despite this gloomy outlook, the WEF predict that approximately 133 million new jobs will be created as a result of an increasing number of robotics, Artificial Intelligence and improved technology in the workplace (WEF, 2018).

What’s safe?
Whilst we can’t be 100% certain, we have a good insight into the jobs that will remain safe in the future:
Many jobs in the Healthcare industry require the kind of human interaction and interpersonal skills that Artificial Intelligence cannot emulate. And with an increasingly ageing population and a longer life expectancy rate, healthcare professionals will be in demand more than ever.
Teachers and educators are vital in preparing future employees for work. Their specialist knowledge and communication skills mean that teachers will become indispensable.
Put simply, robots and Artificial Intelligence are not capable of creativity. As a result, jobs in creative industries such as design, marketing and writing, will be safe when automation becomes more prominent in the workplace.

Skills of the future
Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence will create new jobs in the workplace that we haven’t seen before. We predict that the following areas will soon become industries that require employees with a new, more advanced skill set:
Robotics & Artificial Intelligence
One thing is for sure, technological advancements in robotics and Artificial Intelligence are exposed to system failures. And with the technology set to take over more than 50% of jobs, many organisations will require knowledgeable technicians to handle any types of system failures quickly to keep their business running.
Data security
With more of our personal data being stored online, it is becoming increasingly important that data is protected effectively. We are moving towards companies of all sizes requiring experts in data security to ensure the safe handling of all personal and business data.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, offers users anonymity and security alongside removing the need for a bank, and it is set to become mainstream in the future. Cryptocurrency users will soon require advisers who can help them with managing and investing their currency.

It’s not all doom and gloom…
The Fourth Industrial Revolution doesn’t mean the end of the traditional job market, it’s the start of a new era. The landscape of the job market will change, and the human race needs to adapt. We need to rethink our education and training systems to provide the knowledge and skills that the workforce of tomorrow will need. Digital skills and technology know-how will be essential to future generations and is something our educators need to start preparing for now.

For the existing workforce, its vital that they upskill and embrace lifelong learning and continuous training to remain employable. Distance learning is predicted to grow in popularity as many of today’s workforce seize the opportunity to learn something new alongside their current commitments in preparation for the future job market.

World Economic Forum (2018) The Future of Jobs Report [Online] World Economic Forum. Available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf [Accessed 19/09/18]