The Future of Work

By CSU Global - December 2nd, 2019

The Future of Work

Driven by accelerating connectivity, new talent models, and cognitive tools, work is changing. As robotics, AI, the gig economy and crowds grow, jobs are being reinvented, creating the “augmented workforce.” This blog is the first in a series of four that will discuss the future of work and explore how jobs are designed and individuals adapt through future-facing career education.

“Sharpen your pencils” and “roll up your sleeves” used to be terms that meant it was time to get ready and get to work. However, in today’s world, with the increasing use of technology in the workplace, those sayings seem outdated. We’re now seeing rapid adoption of technology, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and robotics in almost every industry. Whether you are of the opinion that this technology will decrease jobs or as in the last three industrial revolutions, create more jobs, you can’t deny that the workplace is changing.

The question, then, is how to prepare yourself for these upcoming changes? Here are 5 skills that that will help anyone in this new augmented workplace:

  • Become a Lifelong Learner – according to John Abel, VP of Cloud and Innovation at Oracle, “Now the average skill will last no more than six years.”  Based on a 45-year career, that means you’ll need to upgrade your knowledge and skills 7.5 times. Susan Lund, in a webinar released by McKinsey, said it well, “All of us are going to have to continue to adapt, get new skills, and possibly go back for different types of training and credentials.” Let’s just say lifelong learning will be a necessity. 
  • Learn How to Work With Data – whether you’re a data scientist or an analyst, you need to get comfortable in a data-driven world. Lets’ face it: Most modern business decisions are based on some sort of data, and the desire for greater insight will drive the need for even more data and its analysis.
  • Strengthen Your Critical-Thinking and Decision-Making Skills – while the machines will be able to make lots of routine decisions,people will still need to make the final call. Having the ability to take all this information, assimilate it, and make wise business decisions will always fall on humans.
  • Get Comfortable Working With Machines – in the same McKinsey webinar, James Manyika states, “We found that, for example, in something like 60 percent of all occupations an average 30 percent of their work activities are automatable. What does that mean? We’re going to see more people working alongside machines… It means that more skill is going to be required to make the most of what the machines can do for the humans.”  Simply put, we’re all going to have to get comfortable with, and around, machines in the workplace. Ultimately, they’ll make us more productive and allow us to work on higher level tasks. 
  • Exercise Creativity – for all the data a computer can crunch and all the widgets a robot can make, they cannot master this skill. It’s the ability to take 1+1 and get 3 when machines will always get 2. It’s seeing things from a perspective that’s uniquely human to come up with original ideas. It’s intuition paired with data that guides decisions and that can’t be duplicated artificially. 

It’s astonishing to think what all this technology will build to over the next 10 to 20 years. The highly desired skill sets of tomorrow are not even on our radar. What we do know is that the workplace is changing rapidly, and workers will need to be more nimble and constantly learning.  So, get out your tablets and roll up your sleeves: It’s time for the future of work.

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